2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

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2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by greeneyed » November 6, 2019, 5:13 pm

2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

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This is the fourth instalment of 2019 in review. As usual, now the Raiders' season is over - the best for 25 years - we are reviewing all 26 players who pulled on a green jersey in first grade this year. So far, we've looked at Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Nick Cotric.

2019... and the records kept tumbling for Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker. He scored his 120th try against the Sharks in Canberra, equalling Jason Croker's record. He broke the record in Wollongong against the Dragons in Round 17... and that night became the youngest player ever in the NRL to score 1900 points. He went on to play his 250th game in green in Round 21 against the Roosters - the second youngest NRL player to do so. He is now the second most capped Raider of all time, overtaking Simon Woolford and Laurie Daley this year. He is the top Raiders' point scorer of all time, by a long way, and by the end of the season was just four points away from 2000 career points.

Croker appeared in all 27 of the Canberra Raiders matches in 2019, after injury restricted him to just 17 games last season. He was the Raiders' top try scorer this season (13, up from seven in 2018). He was credited with 21 total try involvements, third at the Raiders behind Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson. He ranked fifth in the try scoring stakes amongst NRL centres, and fourth for try involvements.

He was the top point scorer at the Raiders, his 228 points the fourth highest by any Raiders' player in a season. Only he (in 2016, 2015) and Clinton Schifcofske (2001) have scored more in a season. Only Latrell Mitchell scored more points in the NRL this year than Croker. His goal kicking percentage (73) was down on his best (85 in 2013 and 77 in 2018) and the lowest of his career (just below the 74 recorded in 2012). It is no doubt it's something he'll want to lift in 2020.

Croker's average metres per game (74m) were up on 2018 (69m), as were his metres per carry (10m, compared with 8.5m in 2018). His line breaks were up on a per match basis as well, compared with 2018... but his tackle breaks were down slightly on the same basis.

Croker's defence is the area of his game that has been often criticised. But as Ricky Stuart said this year... he hears a lot about the tackles that Croker misses, but not the ones he makes. And that is probably borne out in his defensive statistics this year. He is credited with 21 try causes in 2019, the highest at the club and ranking top six for most in the NRL. But let's remember that it is very tough defending on the edges - and every player in the top 10 for try causes this year was an outside back or fullback. You also need to remember that sometimes, a player may be being asked to do particular things, as part of the overall defensive structure - and that might not always work out for an individual player. The Raiders still ended up with the third best defence in the NRL this season.

More positively, Croker's tackle efficiency rate lifted to 83 per cent in 2019 (80 per cent in 2018 and 78 per cent in 2017). There are 50 odd players who turned out at centre this season with a lower rate. He cut his missed tackles per game to 1.4 (1.8 in 2018) and lifted his one-on-one tackles to 1.4 per match (0.9 in 2019). But no doubt, it is an area he'll want to keep improving. The other area is his error count, which was second highest at the club behind Jack Wighton, and second highest amongst NRL centres.

Croker's best game of the season probably came in the Round 17 win over the Dragons at Wollongong. I rated him an "8" in that match - in which he produced a try, 10 runs for 99 metres, one line break, two line break assists, one try assist and five tackle breaks. I also rated him an "8" in the two losses to the Sea Eagles (in Round 7 and Round 23). My average rating for Croker was 6.5/10. But he finished in my top five Raiders for total points - and his overall rating here reflects that and his very strong contribution to the Raiders' season.



Croker shared the captaincy duties with Josh Hodgson in 2019, which is the first year that's happened since he became the skipper. I've never been a big fan of sharing the captaincy of a footy team - but it appears to be an arrangement that worked fairly well and they ended up being nominated for Dally M Captain of the Year. It's a credit to Croker that he helped make that work, because it can't have been easy for him. In 2020, I'm hoping he and Josh Hodgson will be lifting the premiership trophy on Grand Final day. Both of them will certainly be deserving of it.

How did you rate Jarrod Croker's 2019? Tell us below.

Jarrod Croker's 2019: 7.5/10

2019 Statistics: (Stats from Fox Sports Lab)
Games: 27
Average minutes: 80.2
Points: 228
Tries: 13
Goals: 88/120
Goal kicking percentage: 73
Try assists: 4
Try contributions: 4
Total try involvements: 21
Total kicks: 10
Kick metres: 167
40/20’s: 0
Total runs: 203
All run metres: 2023
Average metres per carry: 10
Average metres per game: 74
Tackle breaks: 46
Offloads: 15
Line breaks: 17
Line break assists: 4
Tackles: 246
Average tackles per game: 9.1
1 on 1 tackles: 38
Missed tackles: 37
Average missed tackles per game: 1.4
Tackle efficiency: 83 per cent
Try causes: 21
Errors: 31
Penalties conceded: 14
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by The Nickman » November 6, 2019, 5:19 pm

3/3 Ferg! This is starting to get creepy now.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Billy Walker » November 6, 2019, 5:39 pm

21 try causes seems awfully high! I’d have him at 6.5.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Matt » November 6, 2019, 6:00 pm

Try causes is high, but the fact that all his other defensive stats went up is a positive.

I can also remember him belting some players this yr, which id classify as uncharacteristic. So that was awesome.

Our left side was our strike, and his ever changing left winger this yr didn't help, but I really thought he had a great yr. Happy with 7.5

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by edwahu » November 6, 2019, 6:03 pm

7/10. Overall a solid year again.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by gergreg » November 6, 2019, 6:59 pm

Do your best Billy.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Cranky Old Man » November 6, 2019, 7:57 pm

I would rate him slightly higher because I thought he went better in the finals than he did during the season. His work in the prelim especially was inspirational, a real captains knock.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Botman » November 6, 2019, 8:04 pm

His GF performance was sensational. Joepsh Manu was giving people the business all finals, he was the form centre in the comp, and Croker shut him down.

I think his GF performance was one of his best ever tbh. A real shame he didnt get to lift the trophy for us.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by afgtnk » November 6, 2019, 8:29 pm

If CNK is an 8, and Cotric is 6.5, then 7.5 for Croker is far too high - Cotric seems to be paying a price for having a standout previous two years. I think the same 6.5 would do, considering his goalkicking decline and defensive issues.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Matt » November 7, 2019, 7:37 am

Botman wrote:
November 6, 2019, 8:04 pm
His GF performance was sensational. Joepsh Manu was giving people the business all finals, he was the form centre in the comp, and Croker shut him down.

I think his GF performance was one of his best ever tbh. A real shame he didnt get to lift the trophy for us.
That cover tackle on the wrong side of the field was special.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by -PJ- » November 7, 2019, 10:52 am

Can't pass, can't tackle, poor goal kicking..

7/10

Solid 2019 skip.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by The Nickman » November 7, 2019, 10:55 am

Matt wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:37 am
Botman wrote:
November 6, 2019, 8:04 pm
His GF performance was sensational. Joepsh Manu was giving people the business all finals, he was the form centre in the comp, and Croker shut him down.

I think his GF performance was one of his best ever tbh. A real shame he didnt get to lift the trophy for us.
That cover tackle on the wrong side of the field was special.
It was pretty amazing for a bloke who "can't tackle".
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Billy Walker » November 7, 2019, 1:39 pm

The Rickman wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:55 am
Matt wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:37 am
Botman wrote:
November 6, 2019, 8:04 pm
His GF performance was sensational. Joepsh Manu was giving people the business all finals, he was the form centre in the comp, and Croker shut him down.

I think his GF performance was one of his best ever tbh. A real shame he didnt get to lift the trophy for us.
That cover tackle on the wrong side of the field was special.
It was pretty amazing for a bloke who "can't tackle".
If I throw enough darts I’ll occasionally hit the bullseye - doesn’t make me a good consistent darts player. You see the great tackle JC makes, I see the 1/9 misses and the many many try causes he is responsible for.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by zim » November 7, 2019, 1:59 pm

Any good darts player knows you need oooooooonnneeeee hundred an eiiiiiiiiiggggghhhhhttyyyy. Not the bull.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by -TW- » November 7, 2019, 4:03 pm

Billy Walker wrote:
The Rickman wrote:
November 7, 2019, 10:55 am
Matt wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:37 am
Botman wrote:
November 6, 2019, 8:04 pm
His GF performance was sensational. Joepsh Manu was giving people the business all finals, he was the form centre in the comp, and Croker shut him down.

I think his GF performance was one of his best ever tbh. A real shame he didnt get to lift the trophy for us.
That cover tackle on the wrong side of the field was special.
It was pretty amazing for a bloke who "can't tackle".
If I throw enough darts I’ll occasionally hit the bullseye - doesn’t make me a good consistent darts player. You see the great tackle JC makes, I see the 1/9 misses and the many many try causes he is responsible for.
You're a crap darts player then

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Seiffert82 » November 7, 2019, 4:14 pm

Yep, 7.0/10 for me.

I feel Toots improved as the year went on. I thought his Grand Final performance was one of his best last season. All good signs for an even better 2020.

He's got a really good partnership on that left hand side with Cotric. It was a real shame those combos were all over the shop last year, between Leilua's injury and Cotric's suspension.

The records he broke this season were phenomenal - but it wasn't always his best year personally. For his position he's pretty rock solid with both the ball and in defence. I love having him in the team.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by -PJ- » November 7, 2019, 4:15 pm

I play darts.

7/10
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Northern Raider » November 7, 2019, 7:36 pm

Funny thing is even the people who actually keep these 'Try Cause' stats admit they are flawed. Most people with even a marginal understanding of the game take them with a huge grain of salt. Those with less understanding base their entire argument on them.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 7:47 pm

I agree those try cause stats can be very simplistic. As can the charges often levelled at Croker, that he comes out of the line too much. There is one other possibility... perhaps he's being asked to cut off play in certain circumtances? Do we know what the defensive coaches are asking of him? That might be wrong... but can we say definitively that closing down the play when the opposition has men on is a silly strategy? Maybe the try is going to be scored anyway... I was trying to suggest that in the original story.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Botman » November 7, 2019, 7:55 pm

Northern Raider wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:36 pm
Funny thing is even the people who actually keep these 'Try Cause' stats admit they are flawed. Most people with even a marginal understanding of the game take them with a huge grain of salt. Those with less understanding base their entire argument on them.
TC's are a good starting step and a major upgrade on the basic level of stats that Nine provides and until recently, NRL.com.
But there is no question about it's flaws... these are the baby steps RL is taking towards proper analytical stats
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Botman » November 7, 2019, 8:03 pm

greeneyed wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:47 pm
I agree those try cause stats can be very simplistic. As can the charges often levelled at Croker, that he comes out of the line too much. There is one other possibility... perhaps he's being asked to cut off play in certain circumtances? Do we know what the defensive coaches are asking of him? That might be wrong... but can we say definitively that closing down the play when the opposition has men on is a silly strategy? Maybe the try is going to be scored anyway... I was trying to suggest that in the original story.
Croker got attributed TC stats this year a number of times where the real error was from Simo. When Wighton jams in, and Croker jams in and the man outside of Croker, goes through a gap because Simo hasnt jammed in... well i know how the coaches will grade that play, but the stat keepers will sit that with the centre... And for the most part that stuff irons out across the position.

Every centre is subjected the same stuff, but in 2019, the Raiders were arguably THE most aggressive jamming defence, they employed it as a staple of their structure, not as most do, which is as a method to get themselves out of trouble when out numbered.

No one will ever actually argue defense isnt the weakest point of Croker's game. It absolutely is the worst part of his game and he'll never be a shut down defender. But his issues are grossly overstated and it's actually hilarious how many times posters who dont like him tried to pin tries on him because they lack a fundamental understanding of how a jamming defence works. Or maybe they do and it just suited their narrative to piss on about it anyways.


Remember when Croker's defence and goal kicking was going to cost us the GF? And then he didnt miss a kick and shut down Joseph Manu in the GF? Haha. I do.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 8:15 pm

@Botman... I think that's what I was inelegantly trying to suggest. I've read it over and over... Croker shouldn't have come in there, and that try is on him. We hear it from commentators. But perhaps it's part of the defensive tactics... he's being asked to. Perhaps not in every circumstance... but I think things are much more complex than people might think.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Northern Raider » November 7, 2019, 8:45 pm

Botman wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:55 pm
Northern Raider wrote:
November 7, 2019, 7:36 pm
Funny thing is even the people who actually keep these 'Try Cause' stats admit they are flawed. Most people with even a marginal understanding of the game take them with a huge grain of salt. Those with less understanding base their entire argument on them.
TC's are a good starting step and a major upgrade on the basic level of stats that Nine provides and until recently, NRL.com.
But there is no question about it's flaws... these are the baby steps RL is taking towards proper analytical stats
Yeah it's heading in the right direction for publicly available stats. Clubs have far more detailed analysis available. More based on finer aspects of individual performance than the basic ones we're used to. Try Cause should only be applied when an individual makes a clear error that creates a try. Currently it's based on "when a player has an opportunity to present a try but fails to do so". That's why somebody like Tuivasa-Sheck ends up at the top of the list even though he's not actually causing these try to be scored. Majority of tries are a result of a breakdown in defensive structure. Rarely is it the result of a single individual failing (even though some may be more culpable than others).

Fix the method of application and the stat will have more relevance.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by greeneyed » November 7, 2019, 10:39 pm

Any posts alleging things about the identity about other posters are going to be deleted. Debate the footy thanks.
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by afgtnk » November 7, 2019, 11:13 pm

One of Croker's biggest issues is being caught flat footed and fixated on ball runners, doubling up with his inside man when it's equal numbers on sweep plays.

The South Prelim was a classic example - a play being run down his side where it's three on three, and instead of staying with his man, he gets sucked in by the hole runner that Jack is already marking. There's a split second at 3:56 where he turns his body in and holds position - as soon as he does that, he's gone. Play rolls forward and he can't recover as a Gagai has too much speed, two on one with Cotric, Souths score.

Starts at 3:53



Now, I could understand if you're trying to help out a guy like Sam Williams take on a steaming second rower, but this is Jack Wighton. A guy that will take anyone down. You don't need to come in and help Jack Wighton when he's making a one on one tackle - that's what he's there for.

At the time I think Cotric might've been blamed by some but that is blatantly wrong - that is Croker's error. Cotric keeps backing off on Gagai to allow Croker an attempt to recover because he has his own man to mark. Once he realises that the speed mismatch has left Croker too far off to effect a tackle he has to make a decision to come in a last ditch attempt since he's come too close to the line.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by edwahu » November 8, 2019, 5:49 am

Try cause actually uses a very practical criteria and is a great stat once you go beyond the raw number. Easily one of the best defensive stats we have, it nails a lot of players issues.

Dismissing it because it is measured in a certain way makes no sense at all, as much as taking the raw number as gospel.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Billy Walker » November 8, 2019, 6:33 am

afgtnk wrote:
November 7, 2019, 11:13 pm
One of Croker's biggest issues is being caught flat footed and fixated on ball runners, doubling up with his inside man when it's equal numbers on sweep plays.

The South Prelim was a classic example - a play being run down his side where it's three on three, and instead of staying with his man, he gets sucked in by the hole runner that Jack is already marking. There's a split second at 3:56 where he turns his body in and holds position - as soon as he does that, he's gone. Play rolls forward and he can't recover as a Gagai has too much speed, two on one with Cotric, Souths score.

Starts at 3:53



Now, I could understand if you're trying to help out a guy like Sam Williams take on a steaming second rower, but this is Jack Wighton. A guy that will take anyone down. You don't need to come in and help Jack Wighton when he's making a one on one tackle - that's what he's there for.

At the time I think Cotric might've been blamed by some but that is blatantly wrong - that is Croker's error. Cotric keeps backing off on Gagai to allow Croker an attempt to recover because he has his own man to mark. Once he realises that the speed mismatch has left Croker too far off to effect a tackle he has to make a decision to come in a last ditch attempt since he's come too close to the line.
I suspect he is aware he has an issue being caught flat footed watching ball runners and that’s why at times he over compensates by flying out of the line often taking nobody. I’ve been thinking about GE’s theory that he’s been asked to get up and shut things down but I think it’s more a case of a bad read.

All things considered Croker had a pretty good 2019. We wasn’t our best player but wasn’t our worst. Even my 6.5 is more than a pass.

I’m not convinced we will see much improvement in his game - that’s not a knock on him personally it’s just a reality that after so many seasons he’s unlikely to suddenly learn new tricks, but age will start to slow him and impact his agility etc.

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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Botman » November 8, 2019, 7:25 am

edwahu wrote:
November 8, 2019, 5:49 am
Try cause actually uses a very practical criteria and is a great stat once you go beyond the raw number. Easily one of the best defensive stats we have, it nails a lot of players issues.

Dismissing it because it is measured in a certain way makes no sense at all, as much as taking the raw number as gospel.
The problem with it is that you can’t boil down a try cause based on a set criteria
That’s not really how the game works, i think they do the best they can and it is very instructive about players who are good/bad/indifferent defenders but like I said before, the stat can’t take into account defensive assignment

I think you’re right that it shouldn’t be taken as gospel and nor should it be dismissed. Its data, the point to data is that it’s information to help you mould your opinions
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Re: 2019 in review - Jarrod Croker

Post by Northern Raider » November 8, 2019, 9:46 am

Botman wrote:
November 8, 2019, 7:25 am
edwahu wrote:
November 8, 2019, 5:49 am
Try cause actually uses a very practical criteria and is a great stat once you go beyond the raw number. Easily one of the best defensive stats we have, it nails a lot of players issues.

Dismissing it because it is measured in a certain way makes no sense at all, as much as taking the raw number as gospel.
The problem with it is that you can’t boil down a try cause based on a set criteria
That’s not really how the game works, i think they do the best they can and it is very instructive about players who are good/bad/indifferent defenders but like I said before, the stat can’t take into account defensive assignment

I think you’re right that it shouldn’t be taken as gospel and nor should it be dismissed. Its data, the point to data is that it’s information to help you mould your opinions
The key issue is assigning blame for try to an individual when the structure of the defensive line has been compromised.
Most often seen when an overlap occurs and an outside back has to make a 50/50 call on which player to take. Split second decision and if they get it wrong then they get a Try Cause against their name. Outside backs are the ones placed in this position most often so will usually end up top of the lists. They haven't actually "caused" the try to be scored. They just failed to prevent it.
Shame we don't record a Try Save stats when the defender makes the right call.

I think a Try Cause is more when somebody rushes up and takes nobody (Blake Austin style) or falls off a tackle they should have made. Can be somewhat subjective but this is the type of analysis that coaches do in post game video study.
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