Blues and Kangaroos meet contrasting fortunesQUEANBEYAN Blues lynchpin Justin Giteau is finally on the verge of returning to the field after recovering from the groin injury that has kept him sidelined for the past month.
Giteau will line up for the Blues against Tuggeranong Bushrangers at Seiffert Oval tomorrow with his inclusion to provide a much-needed boost for his struggling side.
After cruising through the first half of the season, three losses in four weeks have shattered the air of inevitability that had begun to form around the Blues’ 2011 finals charge.
The defeats have also served to prove just how vital Giteau’s fitness is to the club’s prospects this season.
In the 32-year-old’s absence, the Blues’ backline has looked both disjointed in defence and ineffectual in attack.
And those flaws were cruelly exposed by the Belconnen United Scholars last weekend as the north-Canberra club ran in a convincing 34-18 win at Northbourne Oval.
The victory saw the Scholars usurp the Blues’ position at the top of the Canberra Raiders Cup ladder and all but secure the minor premiership for the second year running.
The Blues must now beat the Bushrangers this Saturday to guarantee a top-two finish and to secure the week off in the first round of the finals. But Giteau said there was no cause for panic.
“I think the last few weeks a few boys have been cruising a bit but we know how important this weekend is so I don’t think that will be a problem,” he said.
“We showed during the first half of the year we can win footy games, we’re just going through a rough patch at the moment but we will fix things up before the finals.”
While the Blues have been on the slide, across town the Queanbeyan Kangaroos have steadily been getting their title defence back on track.
Four straight wins have seen last year’s premiers climb out from the competition basement and back into post-season contention.
But that streak comes with an asterisk attached. While the old adage that you can only play the team in front of you holds true, none of those victories has come against a side likely to feature in finals football.
This weekend’s clash with the third-placed Goulburn Bulldogs at Workers Arena will therefore serve as a better barometer of exactly where the Kangaroos are currently at.
And the result will go a long way in determining if the Roos have emerged as a genuine title threat, or whether they’ve simply benefited from the luck of the draw.
Led by Canberra Raiders contracted halfback Mick Picker, the Bulldogs have have knocked off both the Blues and the Scholars in recent weeks.
A win to the Kangaroos would see the side leapfrog Goulburn into third and could see them finish the round as high as second depending on the outcome of the Blues v Tuggeranong match.Source: The Queanbeyan Age