If it was up to Jarrod Croker he would have played in round one, but the Canberra co-captain says he’s thankful coach Ricky Stuart saved him from himself.

The 30-year-old was technically fit to start the year after undergoing shoulder surgery in the off-season, but says the extra fortnight off has helped him build confidence that its totally healed.

“Stick (Stuart) took it out of my hands, I probably would have tried to play those two weeks to be honest,” Croker said ahead of Saturday’s return against the Warriors.

“I know he was looking after me in doing that.

“I do feel better. An extra two weeks of training and being around the boys.

“I would have come straight out of rehab into the side.

“It’s helped me not think about the shoulder.

“I would have been thinking or hoping it was right but now I know it’s right.”

While Croker was sidelined Sebastian Kris starred in the left centre role forcing a tough decision to be made by Stuart.

Kris has been named on the extended bench to play Warriors this week and Croker said he feels pressure to come in and perform given the standard that’s been set by the 21-year-old.

“He came back in mid-November before all the boys came back in and he’s been leading the fitness ever since,” Croker said.

“He’s been absolutely flying.

“For him to get the opportunity and be one of our best players in both of those games shows the depth we have.

“I need to play well now. I can’t expect to just slide back in, I’ve got a job to go out and do and that’s the sort of depth and pressure we need around the club.”

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