Croker’s Call: Api days as rugby league returns

Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker reveals his five trade moves ahead of Round 3.

Croker's Call

It’s been a brutal wait for all of us, but finally rugby league is back!

With that comes the return of SuperCoach, and we’ve got five trades to use, how good…

Our boys have a tough restart to the comp against Melbourne in their own backyard, but I see it as the perfect test to find out where we are at.

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There will be sides who are slow to click back into gear after the layoff, and with a shortened season they risk falling behind.

Taking on arguably the game’s benchmark side first up is an exciting prospect to show that we’re again in with a genuine crack at reaching the grand final in 2020, and hopefully going one better.

There’s been a few rule changes during the break to hopefully speed up the ruck, which should play into the hands of our little general Josh Hodgson at hooker.

Anyway, let’s get stuck into the SuperCoach side of things.

Speaking of slow starts, Croker’s Stockmen didn’t exactly fly out of the blocks in the opening rounds.

And the break wasn’t overly kind.

I had Mitch Barnett, Michael Morgan and David Fifita who were all injured and will miss a few weeks each.

However, I did already have Esan Marsters and Scott Drinkwater in my side who look to be popular picks with the revised draw.

Here are my trades for Round 3.

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MITCH BARNETT – JASON TAUMALOLO

My old mate at the Raiders Mitch Barnett was a guy I was really happy to have in my back-row, but he’s set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines and has to be moved on. Not much to say here, I started without Jason Taumalolo early on and paid the price… Stupid

DAVID FIFITA – JAKE TRBOJEVIC

David Fifita is out for a while, but I’m not too disappointed as Jake Trbojevic joins the Stockmen. Trbojevic gets through a mountain of work and has plenty of creativity in his game. With his ability to add attacking numbers to his game I think he’ll be an elite pick up for Round 3.

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DAMIEN COOK – API KOROISAU

I spent big on Damien Cook to start the year and it backfired. He looks like he’ll lose a stack of money, so he’s an obvious trade to Api Koroisau who started well on his return to Penrith.

With dynamic running games out of dummy half I think this pair will be major beneficiaries of what will hopefully be a quicker ruck. Cooky won’t be out of my side for too long…

JACK WILLIAMS – TOBY RUDOLF

Another former Raider in Jack Williams makes way for teammate Toby Rudolf. Cronulla had a tough start to the year with a wet game in Round 1 and then Melbourne in Round 2 who tend to drain the life out of opposition forwards by slowing the ruck with such precision.

I think Williams will come good and start scoring better, but there’s money to be made elsewhere.

MICHAEL MORGAN – LUKE KEARY

Michael Morgan’s injury gives me the chance to go to Luke Keary. I’m excited to see how he operates in the absence of Cooper Cronk this season as we know he’s such a classy footballer.

It’s his team now and I think it can translate well to SuperCoach stats. The Roosters haven’t won yet this season, so we can be confident they’ll arguably be more fired up than any other club. Keary will be at the forefront of all their attack, so hopefully he scores well for me.

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CAPTAIN

Provided the weather holds up, I’ll be captaining Tom Trbojevic before other SuperCoaches recruit him. The Bulldogs can be tenacious in defence, but Tommy is on another level and can terrorise the competition’s best.

I’ll have the vice-captaincy on Jason Taumalolo in case he goes large against the Titans.

These trades leave me with a monster $286k in my bank for a raid on an elite centre or winger next week.

Good luck to everyone and enjoy the return of rugby league!

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