Born in Crookwell in 1973, Jason Croker is a Canberra region local.
Known as the “home of potatoes”, Jason grew up picking spuds on his parents farm from a young age.
He played as a back in the juniors and was signed as a 15 year old into the Raiders Harold Matthews team.
His nickname “Toots” came from his mum as a youngster and even though he was embarrassed by it the name sticks with him today.
A wiry young lad, he made his first grade debut as an 18 year old off the bench in Round 3 1991. After scoring eight tries in 18 games he won the Rookie of the Year for the Raiders that year.
Growing up around a team full of superstars, he was a part of the Raiders team who won the U21’s Grand Final.
In just his 99th first grade game, he was a key player in the Raiders third Grand Final win in 1994 scoring a try in the 36-12 demolition of the Bulldogs.
His representative honours included three games for Country NSW, five Origins for NSW and five Tests for Australia at the World Cup in 2000. In that same year he was awarded the Dally M Lock of the Year.
By the time he’d finished with the Raiders in 2006 he had a club record 318 games. In his last game for the club he was given the keys to the city by the then Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.
At the time of retiring he also held the club record for most tries (120). This has recently been eclipsed by Jarrod Croker (133 at time of posting) although he is the only player to play 300 games for the club.
Games for Canberra: 318 (1991-2006)
NRL games: 318 (1991-2006)
Super League games: 62 (2007 – 2009)
Clubs: Raiders and Catalans Dragons
NSW Country: 3 caps
NSW: 5 caps
Australia: 5 caps
He moved over to France to continue his professional journey and signed a two year deal with the Catalans Dragons. He ended up playing for three seasons until he was 26 and played 62 games for the club.
Throughout his professional career he played every position except for halfback. He was an unbelievable utility and strong as an ox.
He continued his rugby league journey back home and became an Assistant Coach to former Raiders Lincoln Withers and David Howell at the Gungahlin Bulls in 2014.
Then in 2016, Jason Croker became the legend to join up with the current squad and play alongside his nephew Lachlan Croker at the Auckland 9’s tournament.
After turning 49 this week, Jason runs a recruitment company in construction in Canberra.
He’s got two kids – a boy and a girl aged 19 and 21. He also used to run the Coffee Guru in Crace.
You will find him at almost every home game watching the lads and he looks bigger and stronger than ever.
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