Rangers and Springfield banking on success for title shot
IT HAS just about reached desperation stakes for Ipswich's Barber Cup aspirants Rangers and Springfield.
For both, this weekend is the penultimate round before finals, featuring the top four teams.
Rangers sit in fourth, two points ahead of fifth-placed Brisbane Irish. They play second-placed Redlands at Woodend tomorrow afternoon.
If Rangers can't beat Redlands, they will hope third-placed Springfield can do them a huge favour by beating Irish at Everton Park. Otherwise Irish will sneak past Rangers into fourth spot.
Springfield will be keen to oblige, otherwise they could find their own spot in the semis in danger.
Springfield plays Rangers next weekend, while Irish should get the points against the lowly Pine Rivers.
Irish also have another game up their sleeve, a make-up game the following week against Redlands the weekend before finals start.
The good news for Rangers is Springfield pushed Redlands close last weekend.
They were only seven points behind and hard on attack when Redlands scored a runaway try for a 26-12 win which flattered them. "It is an important game this weekend," Rangers fullback Tom Dwyer said.
"We trained pretty well on Tuesday night with an extended team run."
Dwyer can only hope that translates into a performance close to what Rangers are capable of. If it does, Dwyer is confident his team will get the result it needs.
"We beat them last time in what was probably our best game of the season," the 25-year-old said.
That was away from home so Rangers head into tomorrow's match confident they can win.
But Dwyer is also aware that Rangers, the defending Barber Cup premiers, have regularly failed to deliver on their promise this season.
"We have to put everything together on the day," Dwyer said.
"We've only played them twice so they're still a bit new to us. But they do tend to throw it around a bit.
"Our forwards are our strength.
"So we have to hold the ball and take our chances when we get them."
Dwyer's form this season, by his own admission, has been short of his best.
It could in part be due to Rangers' travails, in which they spent the first half of the season trying to establish their best backline combinations.
Now the backline is set, Dwyer is ready to deliver the sort of attacking form that has previously earned him Queensland Subdistricts selection.
"We're moving in the right direction," he said. "We're stating to pick it up pretty well.
"Once our forwards pass the advantage line, we're trying to hold it a bit more. Our combinations are working really well."
Which means Dwyer just has to pick and choose where and when to join the backline in attack.
"I just see what the defence does really," he said.
"I don't try to over-think it."
In the Pegg Cup, Ipswich plays Redlands at Woodend from 1.30pm before the Barber Cup clash at 3pm.