Raiders' long Roosters wait finally over

Canberra have waited almost 300 days for their shot at revenge at the Sydney Roosters - the longest any runner up has endured in 17 years in the NRL.

JARROD CROKER.
JARROD CROKER. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Jarrod Croker reckons he'll never get over last year's grand-final heartache but insists it won't be the motivation that fuels him against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.

Canberra have endured the longest wait in 17 years for a runner-up to gain revenge, with last year's decider now more than nine months ago.

Owing to that wait and their horrific injury toll since, just nine Raiders who played in the grand final will take on the Roosters at the SCG.

And they will try to erase that fateful October night from their minds after one of the cruellest grand-final defeats in recent memory.

"I don't think you ever do (get over the grand final)," Croker said.

"You ask blokes who lost one 30 years ago - they're not over it. I'll never get over it. I'd just love to win one.

"I have my moments every now and then (when I think about it). I'm a pretty laid back sort of bloke.

"But it's not been on my mind for a little bit. If it comes up it comes up, that's life. I try and forget about it."

Croker has not watched the game in the 281 days that have followed, only seeing glimpses of it when subjected to it unintentionally.

And he knows for sure footage of the 14-8 loss won't be a part of the Raiders' preparations for their next battle.

The Roosters are also without five players who played on October 6, including key men Latrell Mitchell and Cooper Cronk.

"There'll be enough hype around the media of a grand-final rematch, but I won't be using it (as motivation)," Croker said.

"I don't think they'll be using any video out of it that's for sure.

"I haven't (watched it). I've seen it walking past at the pub and there's a replay of it, but don't really stick my eyes on it to be honest.

"We'll be looking at how they've played the last couple of weeks."

The Raiders also have their own issues, with their forward pack completely depleted.

Tom Starling will likely be thrown into the cauldron to spend time at hooker in just his fifth NRL match, with Siliva Havili tipped to start in the No.9.

Bailey Simonsson is now the sixth Raider facing a long-term injury, alongside Sia Soliola, Emre Guler, Corey Horsburgh and John Bateman.

The Raiders at least have good cover in the outside backs for Simonsson with Jordan Rapana and Curtis Scott both available.


AAP