Tigers lose key defender

THE Queanbeyan Tigers have suffered a major blow with key defender Josh Bryce ruled out of the club’s entire 2013 campaign.

Scans confirmed the 22-year-old has torn his right anterior cruciate ligament and will be sidelined for at least the next 12 months.

Bryce suffered the injury during a routine drill at Tigers training last week and is set to undergo season-ending surgery within the next fortnight.

It marks the second time in three years Bryce has been sidelined with a serious knee injury after tearing his ACL and medial cruciate ligament in the opposite knee while playing for VFL side Werribee in 2010.

“It’s never a nice thing to happen but I knew as soon as I did it, it wasn’t going to be good,” Bryce said. “Everyone was telling me to stay positive but I knew I was gone.

“It’s the sort of the thing though, nothing could have prevented it. I’ve just gone to pivot off that knee and snapped the ACL.

“I sat down the other day and was thinking about what I had to go through the last time I did it and it’s amazing how quickly you forget what you’ve had to go through to get back playing so it’s not great.”

Despite the timing of the injury, Bryce said he would opt against the faster acting LARS surgery and would instead undergo a traditional reconstruction.

LARS generally carries a three-month recovery period and would have allowed Bryce to return in time to play a major role in the Tigers title defence.

“Pretty much every AFL player who has had LARS has re-ruptured the same knee within five years,” Bryce said. “I’m only 22 and I like to think I’ve got another 10 years in me. Two knee surgeries is enough, I don’t want to have to go through another one.”

Bryce’s focus this season will now instead turn to his coaching duties with the NEAFL premiership player have already taken on an assistant coaching role with the side before succumbing to injury.

Bryce will also continue in his role as first grade transitional coach.

“I’ve still got my assistant coaching role so I will be taking more on board there,” Bryce said. 

“Hopefully I’ll be able to help out PJ (assistant coach Peter Jensen) in the box during games and assist the playing group a bit more.” 

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