WHEN pre-season training rolls around each year, you could forgive players of any sporting team or code for their initial groans thinking about what lies ahead.
But there was none of that from the Queanbeyan Kangaroos when the boys gathered for the first time recently in preparation for the 2013 season.
Kangaroos president Leigh Kiely told me this week that the Roos are so determined to atone for their 2012 grand final disappointment, their pre-season preparations have been some of the best the club has seen.
“The spirit and togetherness the boys have shown already is second to none” Kiely said. “The players are hungrier than ever to go one better next season and their motivation is obviously high after suffering defeat in the big one last year”.
That’s something I can vouch for as well. When I interviewed club captain and coach Aaron Gorrell for QBNFM after the grand final last season. You could feel the pain of the loss oozing out of him. It comes as no surprise that the players are so inspired to work hard.
In a huge boost, the inspirational Gorrell has participated fully in pre-season training and will be 100 per cent fit ahead of the new season.
Star front rower Matty Lewis is also recovering well from minor knee surgery two weeks ago and will be ready to go in the New Year.
The only unfortunate news for the Kangaroos is the loss of a few key performers who have left the club. Prop Steve Dunn has moved back to Cooma for business reasons and centre Josh Toohey has moved back to home to Tumut.
Halfback Clint Wright, who steered the team admirably in Gorrell’s absence, has also left for pastures new in Sydney.
Recruitment has begun to replace these players and the club has made some astute signings to complement their already powerful squad.
Halfback/Hooker Brian Cronin has joined the club from Jindabyne while Jed Pierce, who trialled with the Raiders last year, will join his brother Adam at the club.
New Zealander Ryan Gordon has made the move over the ditch and will play centre or fullback.
Robbie Byatt, a centre from Riverina has also recently signed with the club. By all accounts the new boys are all promising signings and the club is working towards finalising its roster by February.
The team will now have a spell of around a month before joining back up in late January to resume the hard work.
“The players can now enjoy the Christmas break with their families and friends and a bit of time off in the New Year before we get serious again towards the end of January” Kiely added.
“Despite the fact we’ve made three deciders in a row and won the flag twice, we’re only as good as our last game and can’t wait to get back on the paddock”.
Have a safe Christmas everybody and I will see you all again in the New Year.