Croker says Stuart’s passion on the sideline is good for the game and it may have been a factor as the Raiders defence held the Titans to nil in their season opener.
“I don’t look too much to be honest. The way he is feeling is probably the way we’re all feeling as well,” Croker said.
“If he has got his head down and kicked a chair, then we’re probably feeling the same way. If he is jumping and yahooing, we’re probably feeling the same way.
“It’s great for the game, seeing guys like that so passionate on the sideline. You see other coaches up in the box, they show their passion and might throw a water bottle or something, but it’s the passion and how dedicated they are to the game. It’s good for the game.
“With Stick being on the sideline, he gets that feel, that passion. It’s like he’s on the end of our defensive line, you can hear him talking.
“He knows the game, the intensity, and how all the boys are going in the middle. I sat down there a couple of times [when I was injured last year], you do get a good feel for it and the impact and energy levels.”
Croker had a taste of life in the grandstand when a knee injury kept him sidelined during Canberra’s last-ditch finals attempt last season.
He made a successful return to the park on the Gold Coast and that is just where he wants to stay as the Raiders set their sights on a return to September action.
“Throughout my whole life, I’ve probably never missed more than two or three weeks of sport or footy or anything. To miss seven or eight games there was pretty tough for me,” Croker said.
“It gave me a different understanding of the game, sitting up there watching it with the coaches. It’s not something I really look forward to doing again to be honest.
“It also made me realise how much easier it looks upstairs compared to when you are actually out there. It’s not really for me, I’d rather be in amongst it all.”
Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times