Defending the title: Gorrell previews massive Roos season

In season 2014 the Queanbeyan Kangaroos will look to continue their Canberra Raiders Cup dominance that has seen them make the last four grand finals, winning three of them. Making a fifth-straight grand final this season would place them among the greatest Canberra Raiders Cup teams in the competition's rich history. Queanbeyan Age sports reporter Joshua Matic caught up with coach, and possible captain, Aaron Gorrell to see how the team is placed heading into round one on April 24.

JM: Aaron you've had the losses of two retiring players in Jeff Donald and Lee Welsh for this season and have had two trial matches to settle in the new-look squad. Who will fill the voids this season?

AG: We've got Josh Mitchell who's a hooker that's come over from Tuggeranong, and we've also got Will Berry who's come over from Cooma, and that's it for the new blokes.

JM: Will you be putting on the boots yourself this year Aaron?

AG: I'm not too sure yet, we'll see in a couple of months but it won't be any time soon.

JM: In the mean time will you just focus on coaching?

AG: I'll train and see how the legs are. At the moment they're good. But for now I'll just be coaching. I've had left, centre and right knee reconstructions in the last two years. It meant two long years in rehab so I've just got to take my time and make sure that they're both alright.

JM: Who have you got in line to captain in your absence?

AG: At this stage I'm looking at Troy Whiley.

JM: Who will play in the key halves positions and direct play this season?

AG: Jordan Macey will play halfback or five-eighth, but I've just got to decide the make-up of our number six, seven and nine, so we'll just have to wait and see who can fit where.

JM: When did the squad begin its preseason?

AG: We started one day a week back in December, and went back two days after Christmas. 

We've had two trials as well- one against Tumbarumba and one against Dapto. Fifty-two nil we beat Tumbarumba, and Dapto beat us by a try.

JM: Who are your key players for this season?

AG: Josh Mitchell and Jordan Macey will be our keys so hopefully they can have a big year for us. If I come back and play I'll slot myself back into number six, seven or nine or wherever I think I'll best suit the side, so we'll just have to wait and see when the time comes. Josh Mitchell goal-kicked last weekend and he's pretty handy, so he will probably do the goal-kicking if I'm not playing.

JM: You managed to beat cross-town rivals the Queanbeyan Blues by a point in last year's grand final. Do you see that rivalry continuing this season?

AG: The Blues will always field a good side and I'd say they've recruited well and they were the team to beat all of last year and we were lucky enough to get the grand final win when it counted, so I think there will be the same rivalry again this season.

Gorrell added his men aimed to have a stronger start to this season than their two losses this time last year, and that a short 14-round competition was suitable for the Canberra Raiders Cup.

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