Raiders win time to take on Broncos

Canberra Raiders centre Jarrod Croker. Photo: Melissa AdamsThree Canberra players are in a race to be fit for Monday night’s clash against Brisbane, but Raiders fullback Reece Robinson believes the Broncos will benefit more from the long turnaround.

Raiders centre Jarrod Croker has been named to start against the Broncos, despite injuring his hamstring in Canberra’s last-round loss to Manly.

Hooker Glen Buttriss (calf) and second-rower Joel Edwards (hamstring) will also be given until the last minute to prove their fitness.

The Raiders are coming off a bye and playing on Monday gives the injured trio more time to recover.

But it also gives Brisbane’s four returning State of Origin stars five days to recover from Origin I as the Broncos look to bounce back from a humiliating 56-18 loss to the New Zealand Warriors on Monday night.

”It could [help Brisbane] in the turnaround, but hopefully we’ll get it going in training and get a good performance on Monday,” Robinson said.

The Raiders will be hoping prop David Shillington and centre Blake Ferguson come through Origin unscathed, while the Broncos will be nervously watching Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Justin Hodges and Matt Gillett.

Former Raiders skipper Alan Tongue said it was a ”huge game”.

”You need to make up some ground in this period, we’re going to have some players backing up and so will the Broncos, but it’s a real important period to keep in touch with the top eight,” Tongue said.

”You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself coming into the back end of the season.”

Raiders back-rower Joe Picker (tonsilitis) also missed Tuesday’s training, but was named on the bench.

Croker didn’t train on Tuesday, but was hopeful of being fit for the Broncos as the Raiders look to maintain their unbeaten record at home.

”It’s all going pretty well at the moment, but I won’t know until the next couple of days,” Croker said.

Raiders captain Terry Campese was hopeful Buttriss would return, having played only three games this season.

Campese felt Buttriss would make an immediate impact.

”You saw against Melbourne how he can perform, I think that’s one of the best games I’ve seen him play,” Campese said.

”He’s definitely maturing as a hooker and getting better with each game.

”I think it’ll be a big boost to have him out there for the team.”

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