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Raiders' Croker to notch 100 against SBW

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker will "celebrate" his 100th match in the NRL by lining up against a devastatingly in-form Sonny Bill Williams for the first time on Sunday.
Raiders' Croker to notch 100 against SBW
by AAP

By David Barbeler and Ian McCullough

CANBERRA, April 5 AAP - Canberra centre Jarrod Croker will "celebrate" his 100th match in the NRL by lining up against a devastatingly in-form Sonny Bill Williams for the first time on Sunday.

The goalkicking centre has had an impressive run of late, finishing his blistering 2012 season as the competition's highest scorer with 16 tries and 81 goals for a total of 226 points.

However, likely standing in Croker's way of capping off this weekend's milestone with a win is the impressive Williams - fresh from his successful four-year venture in rugby union.

"He's going to be hard to handle. He's tough to stop isn't he," Croker said.

"I've never played against (Williams) before so it's obviously nice to come up against him.

"He's in some good form and he's strung some good games together and starting to get a few combinations now."

Croker said the Raiders were going to have their hands full at Canberra Stadium, with Williams surrounded by a plethora of gun players including Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings.

"(Williams) does take a bit of heat off the halves as well. He's got that ball-playing ability," Croker said.

"But it's not a one man show."

The 22-year-old will be the fastest Raider to reach 100 games since making his NRL debut in round two 2009 and the second-youngest ever to achieve the milestone - only behind distant relative Jason Croker.

"It's nice to have those little accolades along the line," Croker said.

"I've been luckily enough, touch wood, with injuries.

"Hopefully I can keep that going and a couple more 100 (games) to come I suppose, that would be nice."

Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello is hoping for a turn of fortunes at Canberra Stadium after his send off against the Raiders last year.

Minichiello was given his marching orders for a brutal high shot on former Canberra fullback Josh Dugan five minutes from the end of his side's 24-20 defeat in round 24 last year.

The former NSW fullback also sustained a career-threatening ankle injury in the nation's capital when scoring a try two weeks into the 2009 season.

"Last year wasn't a great memory for me down there and I think it's fair to say I've had mixed success at Canberra in the past," Minichiello told AAP.

"It's a tough place to go, particularly when you have a night game there. It's cold, quite hostile and you need to be on your game.

"They have some big forwards and like to get into the grind.

"It's up to us to show we can cope with that. If we can, then we can win the game."




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