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Captaincy role a fine reward for Lachlan Croker

When Lachlan Croker leads the Sea Eagles out against Newcastle this Sunday, it will rate as one of the proudest moments of his NRL career.

With long serving skipper Daly Cherry-Evans on Queensland Origin duty and vice-captain Jake Trbojevic injured, Coach Anthony Seibold appointed the 26-year-old Croker captain for the Round 13 Telstra Premiership match at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The captaincy is a fine reward for Croker who has pushed through three knee reconstructions, hamstring, and shoulder injuries to truly establish himself as Manly’s starting hooker in his 91 matches for the club.

The Sea Eagles developed the former half into a quality number nine after he made his NRL debut for Canberra in 2016. 

“When ‘Seibs’ pulled me aside and asked how I felt about being captain this week, I was just really excited,’’ Croker said.

“I have been here for six years now and Manly feels like home.

“After my third knee reconstruction, if someone had said I will give you one more game and then you can call it quits, I would have taken it back then considering what I had been through.

To have the honour of captaining Manly this weekend is something really special

Hooker Lachlan Croker

“I’m just really lucky to have had the great support of ‘Baz’ (Trent Barrett) originally, then 'Dessy' (Hasler) who put so much time into me, and now ‘Seibs’ over the years.

“It’s the same with the playing group. They have all been really supportive and have made my time here really enjoyable. It’s something that I will obviously never forget.”

As battle hardened as they come, Croker goes about his work with little fanfare.

Along with Test forward Jake Trbojevic, Croker produces very high defensive numbers every week that earns him the trust and respect of his team-mates.

Always ready...Lachlan Croker dives over against the Storm at 4 Pines Park
Always ready...Lachlan Croker dives over against the Storm at 4 Pines Park ©NRL Photos

Between the pair, they have topped the tackle count in 10 of Manly’s 11 games this season. 

Croker has twice past the 40 tackle mark this year with Trbojevic recording the most tackles with an astonishing 53 against the Gold Coast Titans.

Furthermore, Croker has made over 900 tackles in each of his past two seasons and last year, ran the ball for a career high 822 metres. His outstanding efforts in 2022 saw him a popular winner of the club’s Roy Bull Medal for the Best and Fairest player.

Croker said he had gained plenty of confidence in defence working alongside Trbojevic

“Seeing Jake next to you and knowing just how much passion he has for the club and for winning is incredible,'' Croker said.

Crunch...Jake Trbojevic shows off his perfect tackling technique
Crunch...Jake Trbojevic shows off his perfect tackling technique ©NRL Photos

“You know if something goes wrong in defence and you’re not there, then he is going to be there.

“He just wears his heart on his sleeve. When my career is over, it will be something that I will be able to look back on and tell my kids that I played so many games with Jake, his brother Tom, and Daly. It’s pretty special."

Seibold said Croker possesses natural leadership qualities.

“I just love the effort that Lachlan brings with his competitive nature. He is a deserving guy to have the ‘C’ next to his name this week,’’ Seibold said.

"The boys were pumped when I told them 'Crokes' was appointed captain. Everyone here respects Lachlan.”



Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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