Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker says his side is “quietly confident” ahead of the Raiders must-win clash against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night, as his side begins its tough run home.
The away trip to Suncorp Stadium is the first road stop on the Green Machine’s challenging run towards finals, with five of their next six matches away from home.
The Raiders have a poor record against the Broncos away from home, winning only two of their last 11 clashes, but Croker backs his side to begin their late-season charge.
“We haven’t had a great record up there [Suncorp Stadium] so it’s going to be a tough ask, and it always is, going to Brisbane,” he said.
“When looking at away trips, this is probably one of the toughest ones you’ll have throughout the year. But we have plenty of confidence from the last couple of weeks, and we will continue to build our preparation up towards the weekend.”
Encouraged by their recent thrashing of the West Tigers at Campbelltown, Croker is confident despite their recent poor record in Brisbane.
“The Broncos are a good side and have been for some time and I don’t think there is any team that enjoys going up there,” he said.
“It is always a tough game up there, with a good coach and good players, they are always going to be hard to beat.
“But we are quietly confident with the way we have been playing and we will prepare well this week.”
The Raiders need to beat the eighth-placed Broncos to keep their finals hopes alive and cut the gap to just two points and the severity of their situation is not lost on Ricky Stuart’s men.
“We know how important this game is for us. There is a four-point gap between us and Brisbane and the top eight, so we can’t let that slip away any further,” Croker said.
“It is a tough run home but if we are going to play finals football, we will have to beat the good sides and we will have to be one of the good sides.”
Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos, Suncorp Stadium, 7:35 pm Saturday
1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Michael Oldfield 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Sia Soliola 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Joe Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Josh Papalii 14. Siliva Havili 15. Junior Paulo 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Liam Knight 18. Jack Murchie 19. Charlie Gubb 20. Craig Garvey 21. Brad Abbey