NRL: SBW in way of Croker's party

Croker says Sonny Bill will be 'hard to handle'.  Photo / Gettys Images
Croker says Sonny Bill will be 'hard to handle'. Photo / Gettys Images

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker will "celebrate" his 100th match in the NRL by lining up against a devastatingly in-form Sonny Bill Williams for the first time tomorrow.

The goalkicking centre has had an impressive run, finishing his blistering 2012 season as the competition's highest scorer with 16 tries and 81 goals for a total of 226 points.

However, likely standing in Croker's way of capping off this weekend's milestone with a win is the impressive Williams - fresh from his successful four-year venture in rugby.

"He's going to be hard to handle. He's tough to stop isn't he," Croker said. "I've never played against [Williams] before so it's obviously nice to come up against him.

"He's in some good form and he's strung some good games together and starting to get a few combinations now."

Croker said the Raiders were going to have their hands full at Canberra Stadium, with Williams surrounded by a plethora of gun players including Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings.

"[Williams] does take a bit of heat off the halves as well. He's got that ball-playing ability," Croker said. "But it's not a one-man show."

The 22-year-old will be the fastest Raider to reach 100 games since making his NRL debut in 2009 and the second-youngest ever to achieve the milestone.

"It's nice to have those little accolades along the line," Croker said. "I've been lucky enough, touch wood, with injuries.

"Hopefully I can keep that going and a couple more 100 [games] to come I suppose, that would be nice."

Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello is hoping for a turn of fortunes after his send off against the Raiders last year.

"Last year wasn't a great memory for me down there and I think it's fair to say I've had mixed success at Canberra in the past," said Minichiello. "It's a tough place to go, particularly when you have a night game there. It's cold, quite hostile and you need to be on your game."

- AAP

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