Lee Gaskin June 24, 2012
Scholars player Aidan Greenwood busts through the tackle of Kangaroos Clint Wright and Josh Toohey. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
THE QUEANBEYAN Kangaroos are sweating on a knee injury to influential captain-coach Aaron Gorrell after losing their first game of the season yesterday.
With the former St George Illawarra and Brisbane Broncos utility on the sidelines, the Canberra Raiders Cup leaders had their eight-match winning streak broken at the hands of the Belconnen United Scholars.
The Scholars launched a second-half fightback to record an impressive 31-18 victory at Freebody Oval to move within one competition point of the Kangaroos.
Kangaroos assistant coach Jack Giddings said Gorrell ''heard a pop'' in his knee, and after attempting to continue, decided not to risk further damage by sitting out the second half.
''It's not real serious, he actually went back on and played,'' Giddings said.
''He decided it wasn't worth staying out there when he's hopping around on one leg.
''He needed to come off because we've got three weeks break before our next game.''
The Kangaroos have the bye when the Canberra Raiders Cup resumes in a fortnight after next week's country championship final between Canberra and Newcastle at Seiffert Oval.
Gorrell has played an instrumental role in the Kangaroos winning back-to-back premierships, while also steering the team around superbly at five-eighth in the opening eight games of this season.
His experience was sorely missed as the Scholars applied the blowtorch in the second half.
With the Kangaroos reduced to 15 fit players after prop Matt Lewis also succumbed to a knee injury, the Scholars scored four tries in a sensational 10-minute period to earn their seventh win from nine games this year.
The past three victories have come against teams in the top four, but captain Tim Thorley did his best to keep a lid on his side's premiership aspirations.
''It doesn't really mean much at all,'' Thorley said.
''They lost Aaron Gorrell today and he's their lead player, so we're not going to take too much from it.
''We'll definitely take something from it and keep working towards the finals, but we're not even top of the table.''
In a high-quality encounter, the Kangaroos crossed either side of half-time, the second a 50-metre special from barnstorming second-rower Richard Kelly, to take a 14-10 lead and were on track for their ninth straight win to start the season.
But the Scholars took advantage of a tiring Kangaroos defence to charge home and grab a valuable two points.
At Yass, the Magpies accounted for the Gungahlin Bulls 36-20 to remain a point behind the Scholars in third place, while Woden Valley continued West Belconnen's miserable season with a 38-26 victory at Phillip Oval.
The Warriors are last on the table with a solitary win from nine games.
Round 10 wraps up today when the Tuggeranong Bushrangers host the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs.
The Queanbeyan Blues have the bye.
Canberra Raiders Cup, round 10: Belconnen United Scholars 31 bt Queanbeyan Kangaroos 18 at Freebody Oval; Yass Magpies 36 bt Gungahlin Bulls 20 at Walker Park; Woden Valley Rams 38 bt West Belconnen Warriors 26 at Phillip Oval yesterday.