Thurling to Miss Century This Season
Canberra prop Trevor Thurling will miss the chance to hit the 100 game milestone for the ‘Green Machine’ this season, the boy from Queanbeyan having been ruled out for the remainder of the year after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
Thurling suffered the injury last Monday night during Round 20 of the 2011 NRL Telstra Premiership when the Raiders continued their dominance over the Dragons with a hard-fought 24 – 19 win.
In a gutsy move that lead to the injury, Thurling was putting pressure on Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward who was getting ready for a field goal attempt.
“It felt like someone kicked me in the leg and I dropped on the spot,” Thurling recalled.
“I knew straight away there was something up.
“The trainer came out and I couldn’t put any weight on it at all.”
Defending Premiership winners St George Illawarra have failed to beat the Canberra in Canberra for 10 years and counting, the Raiders keeping their title as the Dragons’ bogey team for another season.
Thurling’s season-ending injury marred the 13th-ranked Raiders’ Monday night celebrations, however, and ended the the 27-year-olds’ hopes of reaching 100 top-grade NRL games this year.
It is a disappointing blow for Thurling who had only recently regained top form after his controversial car accident in April that saw him stood down from his playing commitments with the Raiders at the time and have to play in the Queensland Cup for a stint.
Undergoing surgery today, there is an expected four to six month recovery for Thurling which he will need both physical and mental toughness to get through.
He’s had to dig deep before, however, and overcome long-term injuries having had consecutive knee reconstructions in 2005 and 2006.
While jubilant over the Raiders win on Monday night, Canberra coach David Furner knows they face another tough test in Round 21 when they take on the sixth-placed Warriors at Mt. Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“I was pleased with the way the side played in the second half,” Furner said.
“To keep a side like the Dragons to one point in the second half showed the character of the side.
“This week we face a Warriors team that’s in great form and they have size and speed in the backs and plenty of muscle up front.”
The Warriors are part of a log-jam of teams vying for a Top 8 finish at the end of the 26-round regular NRL season, New Zealand currently on 24 points while the Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights follow closely on 22 points each.
New Zealand come into their match against the Raiders on the back of a commanding 48 – 16 annihilation of the Rabbitohs in Sydney.
Replacing the injured Thurling is dual Raiders’ player of the year medallist Josh Miller on the interchange, while second-rower Joe Picker has also been named on the extended Raiders bench.
Furner said while the loss of Thurling was disappointing, it opened the door for another player to show their skills on the field.
“I’m gutted for Trev as he’s been great for us recently and he had worked so hard on getting himself back into the team and into form,” Furner said.
“It gives a guy like Josh Miller or Joe Picker the chance to come back this week and I know they would be both keen to make an impact after missing out on the Dragons win.”
Thurling has to date played 96 top-grade NRL games, one for the Bulldogs and 95 for the Raiders, equal with the club’s star five-eighth Terry Campese.
Campese is also unlikely to return this season, the one-time New South Wales Blues rep having torn his hip flexor in just his first game back after a knee reconstruction earlier this year.
Sharing the same hometown and current number of career game with Campese, Thurling has come up with what he calls the ‘Queanbeyan curse’.
“I mentioned to Campo in the sheds after the game that there must be something about the number 96 because we’re both stuck on it,” he said.
Thurling and Campese plan to break the curse and have a pact to get back on the field in the opening round of the 2012 NRL season and reach the three-figure achievement in Round 4 next year.
“We were saying it’d be awesome for both of us to get a start at the start of next year and play the first four games.
“Two boys from Queanbeyan playing our 100th first-grade games together.
“I’ll look to secure that utility spot on the bench that I’ve been doing for the past four to five years.
“I want to hit the ground running next season.”