Sport

Canberra Vikings centre Nigel Ah Wong pushing claims for Brumbies spot next season

Canberra Vikings coach Dan McKellar says converted outside centre Nigel Ah Wong can make an impact in the National Rugby Championship en-route to joining the ACT Brumbies on a full-time contract next season.

The Vikings start training as a full squad for the first time on Monday night, ahead of their competition opener against the Perth Spirit at Viking Park on August 23.

Brumbies utility Robbie Coleman will be monitored after aggravating an ankle injury while playing for the Queanbeyan Whites in Saturday's 25-13 loss in the John I Dent Cup grand final to the Tuggeranong Vikings.

Tuggeranong captain Gareth Clouston will have scans on Monday for a suspected torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in the game, which would rule him out of the entire NRC.

The individual performance of Ah Wong was one of the highlights of the final, the 24-year-old scoring all three of Tuggeranong's tries. Having played predominantly in Brisbane club rugby at flanker, McKellar believes Ah Wong is making positive strides in his new role before he starts a two-year contract with the Brumbies next season.

''I've been impressed with his last two performances and he's going pretty well at the moment,'' McKellar said. ''He's still got some things to work on and he's going to be challenged defensively in the NRC. It's about him developing individually and pushing a case for his own selection for the Brumbies next year.''

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The Vikings' NRC squad is a mix of full-time professional players contracted with the Brumbies and the cream of the crop from the Canberra club competition. The club players have been training once a week since the squad was announced, while those with the Brumbies have been given time off since their semi-final loss to the Waratahs on July 26.

McKellar was waiting on news on Coleman's fitness, with Matt Hawke (ankle syndemosis) and Rodney Iona (knee) likely to miss the season opener and Tim Cree (knee) also in doubt.

''I haven't heard anything on Robbie, I noticed he didn't look all that comfortable at times [in the final],'' McKellar said.

''I don't think it's anything serious with Robbie, he just looked a little bit sore. We need all hands on deck at training, but if we have to manage guys with injuries then that's what we've got to do. It's going to be a pretty intense 10 weeks.''

Meanwhile, Tuggeranong Vikings prop Matt Wafer has been cleared of a serious neck injury after he was stretchered from the field in Saturday's second-grade grand final against Queanbeyan.

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