Date: July 07 2012
Aaron Gorrell's season-ending knee injury has placed question marks on the Queanbeyan Kangaroos' ability to win a third-straight premiership.
The loss of the influential playmaker throws the Canberra Raiders Cup wide open as the Belconnen United Scholars and Yass Magpies bear down on the ladder leaders.
The Kangaroos have the bye this weekend, allowing them the chance to cast a close eye on their main rivals for the title.
The second-placed Scholars will remain one point adrift if they beat the Woden Valley Rams today, while the third-placed Magpies travel to Goulburn to face the Bulldogs tomorrow.
Magpies second-rower Tony McLean put the blowtorch on the Kangaroos, declaring they are an unknown quantity without Gorrell's calming influence at halfback.
''He's their go-to man in that side,'' McLean said.
''It's a big loss to them. I'm not sure how they're going to travel without him in the side.''
The Kangaroos have won back-to-back titles under the guidance of the former St George Illawarra and Brisbane Broncos utility since he arrived at the club in 2010.
They enjoyed an eight-game unbeaten run to start the season, a streak broken a fortnight ago when Gorrell tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the loss to the Scholars.
Goulburn forward Daniel York reckons Gorrell's experience will shine through, even if he's not on the field.
''He'll still give them a lot as coach, but obviously they'll miss him in the halves,'' York said.
''We've got them in a few weeks, so we'll see then.''
The Bulldogs haven't given up hope of closing a four-point gap to the top four and making a late charge to the finals. ''Last week didn't help with the one-point loss [to Tuggeranong] but we've got a few home games up our sleeve,'' York said.
''It's been a bit of a disappointing year from what we expected in the pre-season.''
The Bulldogs can consider themselves unlucky not to have recorded more than just two wins for the season.
They have also drawn a couple of games to go with the 20-19 loss to the Bushrangers.
The Queanbeyan Blues can tighten their grip on fourth spot when they take on the Gungahlin Bulls today, while the West Belconnen Warriors will look to move away from the wooden spoon against the Bushrangers tomorrow.
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