IPSWICH Rangers new head coach Robert Sadler is nothing if not well travelled.
A former New Zealand decathlon champion who settled in Adelaide before spending the past two years coaching rugby in Portugal, Sadler has the task of taking the reigning Barber Cup champions to new heights.
Sadler has been in Ipswich for a week, but is yet to view his players on the pitch due to the flooded grounds.
"I've met many of the committee and past coaches," Sadler said.
"It's been an easy introduction."
Sadler has spent the past two and a half years coaching in Portugal.
Prior to that he coached the Adelaide Black Falcons, essentially the South Australian representative team, and Adelaide Premier Grade club Old Collegians.
It was very much a matter of taking the opportunity that presented itself when the Rangers' job became available and Sadler has ambitions to return to professional coaching. However, he is committing at least two years to Rangers.
"I don't think one year is sufficient," he said.
Sadler moved from his native Dunedin to Adelaide in 1980 to pursue his athletics career, after claiming the New Zealand decathlon title in 1978 and 1980.
Sadler finished seventh in the event at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada.
He left New Zealand in search of top-level coaching in Adelaide and ended up staying.
Sadler is familiar with elite competition but knows that whatever level he is coaching, some principles remain the same.
"The biggest challenge is getting to know the players," he said.
"You need to work with the club management and committee, but you deal directly with the players. They're the only avenue for real improvement."
The biggest challenge is getting to know the players. They're the only avenue for real improvement.
For Sadler, improvement is more important than aiming to repeat Rangers' Barber Cup grand final win 2012.
"I'm not result-orientated," he said.
"If you do the work, results will come.
"I like to develop players as individuals and as a team. If you do that, you get results.
"If you are worried about results, you become scoreboard focused and that leads to short-term goals and strategy, which is a certain avenue to failure."
If you are worried about results, you become scoreboard focused and that leads to short-term goals and strategy, which is a certain avenue to failure.
Sadler believes his experiences have equipped him well to raise the standard at Rangers further.
The good news is his preferred style or rugby fits into Rangers' expansive mould.
"In the last two-and-a-half years being a full-time coach has been a real bonus to me," he said. "It's allowed me to focus on the style of rugby I like and the way I analyse the game. I like a game with lots of ball movement and I expect everyone to be involved."
With two premierships in three years, Sadler knows he can't rock the boat too much, too soon.
"I'll slowly start feeding in my ideas and work on what I consider their deficiencies," he said. "There's plenty to work on there so I have to blend the success from last year with new ideas."
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