“GRAND finals don’t mean too much unless you win them.” So said Josh Toohey following the Queanbeyan Kangaroos’ 38-26 defeat to the Belconnen United Scholars in last Sunday’s Canberra Raiders Cup decider.
And walking through the Kangaroos’ dressing shed after the match, it was hard to argue with Toohey’s assessment as the Roos slowly decamped from Seiffert Oval in gloomy silence.
It seems harsh to judge the Kangaroos season – a third grand final appearance in as many years – as anything other than a success. After all, having already claimed back-to-back titles in 2010-11, no team can stay on top forever.
But such thoughts were of little consolation to Toohey and his teammates following Sunday’s loss in which the defending premiers looked decidedly out of sorts for much of the match.
“We trained really well, everyone was fit, the warm up felt good, everyone was relaxed but for whatever reason it just didn’t come together during the match,” Toohey told The Queanbeyan Age. “I don’t know what to say, I think it was the worst game we’ve played all year.”
“We didn’t play the way we usually play and I don’t know what really went wrong.”
The loss was especially difficult for the Roos to stomach given an historic third-straight title had been so tantalisingly in sight. With the match heading into the final 10 minutes, the Kangaroos held a 26-20 advantage and were seemingly in the ascendency.
“To be honest I was thinking here we come, I thought we had them,” Toohey said. “But to their credit, every time we threw something at them, they just kept coming back.”
Some soft goal line defence saw replacement prop Mitchell Shaw crash over for the Scholars to level the scores in the 70th minute before two more late tries saw Belconnen run away with the match.
Toohey meanwhile, said he was as yet undecided as to his playing future next season with the 25-year-old still unsigned for 2013.