Storm won't target Soliola in NRL: Croker

Aug 31, 2017 - 3:49 AM It might have been the most-scrutinised hit of the NRL season, but Canberra captain Jarrod Croker doesn't expect Melbourne to seek retribution for Sia Soliola's knockout blow on Billy Slater.

Soliola is set to return from a five-match suspension in Saturday night's final-round clash at AAMI Park.

It will be the versatile forward's first game since giving the Storm's superstar fullback a heavy concussion in round 20.

But Croker doesn't think revenge will be high on the minor premiers' list of priorities, as they fine-tune their title bid.

"They're a professional side - it's a professional sport. While he copped one, it wasn't an intentional hit," Croker said on Thursday.

"I don't think there'll be too much in it."

In the time Soilola was out, the Raiders' finals hopes flickered before being extinguished last week.

"For me personally, it feels like it's gone quick but I'm sure it felt like a lifetime for Sia," Croker said.

"The big fella's back. He's full of energy, he's full of talk and he's ready to rip and tear."

While Soliola's on-field leadership has been missed, Croker believes his absence has forced props Junior Paulo and Shannon Boyd to step up.

"I think they've benefited from that massively," Croker said.

Melbourne overcame the Raiders by six points when they met six weeks ago in Canberra.

The Storm did it without Slater and skipper Cameron Smith for much of the second half.

And this time, the Green Machine comes up against a Storm side celebrating Smith's record-equalling 355th game and the presentation of the JJ Giltinan Shield for winning the minor premiership.

"They're obviously the favourites to win the comp and deservedly so," Croker said.

"There's not (a bigger challenge in the NRL) but that makes it even better when we knock them off."

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!