national news7ad 7bu pageheader

 
 
 
 

Raiders must improve to beat Storm: Croker

Canberra co-captain Jarrod Croker admits they must eclipse their benchmark this season to win an NRL blockbuster in Melbourne on Saturday.

The rejuvenated Raiders have enjoyed a stellar 2019 and posted 13 wins from 20 games to sit third on the ladder with four rounds remaining.

Those numbers would be the envy of most teams but by the Storm's lofty standards it would mark a below-average campaign.

Melbourne lost NRL legend Billy Slater (retirement) last season and superstar Cooper Cronk (Sydney Roosters) the year before, but they are still steaming towards a third straight grand final.

They sit three wins clear on top of the ladder and can potentially sew up their third minor premiership in four years with victory against the Raiders.

It would mark the seventh time since 2006 they've finished top and Croker knows there's no tougher task than winning in Melbourne.

Canberra have lost on their past four visits by an average of 19 points per game.

"Melbourne have been the same side for a long time now, they're clinical, they do the little things well and they just don't play bad football," Croker said.

"You've got to be at your best to beat them and then even better to go down there and beat them, so it's a massive ask for us."

Canberra lost to 2018 premiers the Roosters 22-18 last week and Croker said he was expecting another finals-like clash with Melbourne.

"We were close last week and we just didn't get there. We don't want to lose two in a row," Croker said.

Raiders and England star John Bateman said games against Melbourne and the Roosters were the reason he came to the NRL this season.

"You look when you're playing those teams and that's the pinnacle of the league, so you really look forward to these games and want to test yourself against the best," Bateman said.

"You watch the games (back home) and Melbourne have won the NRL that many times. They've got some fantastic players and the (Storm) name means quite a bit (in England)."

© AAP 2019