CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Jarrod Croker of the Raiders makes a line rbeak during the round three NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Canberra Raiders all-time leading point scorer and former club captain Jarrod Croker has confirmed he'll be doing everything possible to return to the field for his team in Round 1, 2023 after making just one NRL appearance in 2022.

Croker was forced to undergo a shoulder reconstruction this year and knows he'll need to work even harder to reclaim his place in the team after the emergence of an arsenal of talented outside backs in the nation's capital, led by Seb Kris, Matthew Timoko and Harley Smith-Shields.

“It's coming along well,” Croker told the Canberra Times.

“It's starting to get a bit more strength-work on it now, (I'll) start building it towards contact stuff over the next few weeks.

“By the time pre-season comes around I'll be right to go.”

Despite the pressure it puts him under to reclaim his starting place, Croker has been delighted by the progress of his young teammates in 2022 – though he's ready to engage in the battle for a centre role in Ricky Stuart's team.

The boys have done really well, Sebby (Kris) and Matty Timoko. Both had great years and got better as the season went on – like all the boys did.

“I just want to keep playing footy. I love playing footy and still want to play it.

“I'm going to have to work hard to try and fight to be in the best 17 for Round 1.

“Whether I'm there or not, I'll be busting my arse to make sure I'm wearing a green jersey – whether it's first or second grade we'll just have to wait and see.”

Croker is off-contract at the end of the 2023 season, but he does have a player option in his favour. He is currently third on the NRL's all-time pointscorer list.

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