Queanbeyan Kangaroos coach to retire after Canberra Raiders Cup final against Queanbeyan Blues

Queanbyean Kangaroos' Aaron Gorrell and Queanbyean Blues' Tyler Stephens ahead of the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Queanbyean Kangaroos' Aaron Gorrell and Queanbyean Blues' Tyler Stephens ahead of the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson

He's been talked out of retirement a couple of times, but Queanbeyan Kangaroos coach Aaron Gorrell is so adamant this will be his last game he's throwing his boots in the bin.

After 60 NRL games, 101 games for the Roos and four knee reconstructions, Gorrell's playing days will end against the Queanbeyan Blues in the Canberra Raiders Cup grand final at Seiffert Oval on Sunday.

But the 36-year-old will still be in charge of the Roos next season, having already re-signed as coach for the 2018 campaign.

He'll just be a permanent fixture on the sideline rather than wearing the No.9 jersey.

"I'm done, 100 per cent. The boots will be in the bin, never to get another pair," Gorrell said.

"Other times have more or less been after another knee or something like that. This time it's all me."

Born and bred in Wollongong, Gorrell came up through the grades for the Steelers and played for the Junior Kangaroos before starting his NRL career with St George Illawarra in 2002.

He played 48 games for the Dragons before he headed to France to play for Catalans and then returned to join the Brisbane Broncos for a season.

Then Kangaroos president Leigh Kiely flew up to Brisbane to sign him up for a two years that's turned into eight.

Gorrell had no regrets about calling time on his NRL career after injuries started to take the enjoyment out of the game.

He felt he could've hung on a bit longer, but then he wouldn't have been able to finish off with some "country footy".

Luckily for the Roos he didn't, guiding them to back-to-back premierships in 2010-11, then another in 2013, as well as this year's decider being their sixth in eight years.

It's capped off an NRL career where he played in three preliminary finals, but could never crack the big one.

"I always wanted to play a bit of country footy and Leigh Kiely called me and flew up to Brisbane the next day," Gorrell said.

"I think 2010 was their first grand final in 30 years, then we won two in a row, then got beat and won the next, then got beat last year.

"Just to see some of the kids that were playing juniors when I got there are now first graders, so it's rewarding in other ways I guess [as well]."

It will also be Blues prop Aaron McInnes's last game after he came across from rugby union to be part of the 2014-15 premiership triumphs.

The mystery of whether Les McIntyre Medallist Brent Crisp would play for the Roos was answered on Saturday morning when he made the flight from Darwin for the decider.

​Crisp has been working as a scaffolder in the Northern Territory and was in doubt for the grand final, after scoring three tries in the semi-final to help the Roos beat the Blues two weeks ago.

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