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Dugan to get Raiders on a roll: Croker
Will Knight
16:44 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012
Canberra Raiders player Josh Dugan.
Jarrod Croker believes Josh Dugan (pic) can provide the spark Canberra need to make the NRL finals.

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker believes the return to form of hot-stepping fullback Josh Dugan is more important to the Raiders' NRL finals hopes than the mental trickery used to beat Brisbane.

The Raiders overcame their horror recent home record on Sunday with an emphatic 28-12 win over the Broncos after coach David Furner booked the team into a hotel in NSW the previous night to simulate an away match.

Boasting just three wins from their nine previous games at Canberra Stadium and with their top-eight hopes looking wobbly, the ploy worked as the Raiders scored four tries in a slick second-half display.

Croker said on Monday that Dugan's two late tries were a timely boost for the Raiders, who are 11th on the ladder but one of five teams on 22 points heading into the final month of the season.

"That's the type of player that Duges is - we know he's a big-game player," said Croker, the NRL's leading point-scorer with 176 including 15 tries.

"He can pop up and win those games for you. He just showed he's all class yesterday with two tries in the last five or so minutes to put the game out of reach for the Broncos."

Dugan's typically enthusiastic effort was a big confidence boost for the No.1, who was struggling to make an impact after returning from an ankle injury.

But Croker also pointed to his side's reduced error rate against the Broncos, which meant they weren't forced to defend for long energy-sapping periods that had led to them conceding some big scores in recent rounds.

"It's a simple game when you hold the ball," said Croker.

"When we complete (our sets) up at that high 80 per cents we knock off teams like Melbourne and St George (Illawarra).

"If we're leaking points, it's because we are not holding the ball and we're just defending all day."

And while Croker was happy to defend his coach's "home away from home" hotel tactic, he wasn't convinced they needed to replicate it for Canberra clashes with the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury in coming weeks.

"Everyone has got their own preparation," he said.

"Whether the boys like to stay in their own bed or sleep at a motel I'm not really sure ... it didn't bother me one bit.

"It obviously worked ... if the coaches want to do it and that's what's going to keep us winning games then we'll do it I suppose."


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