In tough sporting world, Rangers keep positive
AS one of "The Four Horsemen'' at Ipswich Rangers, Paul Faapo was keen to build on his past rugby philosophy.
That is to have key support staff around him to provide extra eyes developing a team for the future.
Having taken on the Rangers Barber Cup head coach role, Faapo wanted assistant coach John Rollings, team captain Craig Stewart and vice-skipper Jarred Lacey to join him.
"I've always believed in that policy,'' Faapo said.
"Not that I'm a religious man, it's just something that has always been powerful for me.''
He has adopted a similar approach coaching at Ipswich Grammar School and St Peter's Lutheran.
"I pick four guys that can be the eyes inside a school or outside of a group that are just trying to keep the boys together,'' he said.
While this year's Rangers Barber Cup side lost its second week final 46-26 to Brisbane Irish at Woodend Park, Faapo was far from devastated.
"I think we did allright,'' he said reflecting on Ipswich's Queensland Suburban Rugby Union competition season.
"It was a pretty tough year. I think most teams will say that in regards to what's happened throughout the year pandemic wise and stuff like that.
"For a local team that battles against many other sports here . . . I think we did really well.
"I think the quality of football was probably the best thing about it.
"Being able to play a game of football that was entertaining and different I suppose to what's been done before.''
Faapo had previously coached Rangers junior and Pegg Cup sides.
He appreciated the challenge his players faced in the Barber Cup, praising the effort they put in.
"A lot of the boys would not have thought they would have got that far,'' he said.
"For a lot of the boys, it was a step up.''
With the Barber Cup boys out of the grand final hunt, the club has two senior teams left.
The Normanby Cup side advanced to the grand final after beating Logan City 29-5 on Friday night.
Rangers will host the October 23 title side as reward for their tremendously successful season.
The Rangers women have one last chance to reach the grand final after losing Saturday's final 36-0 to Redlands, also on their home field.
The Rangers women have to beat Logan at Everton Park this weekend to earn another shot at their major rivals.
Despite the Barber Cup's season ending, Rangers club president Rohan McPhail shared Faapo's assessment.
"From a club perspective, I'm more than happy where they finished,'' McPhail said.
"This year has been very disjointed and that's the team that has been the most impacted by it.''
He said losing RAAF and Australian Defence Force players at different stages due to their essential work provided an additional challenge.
However, he was upbeat about next season.
"A fair majority of them are coming back next year and we've got a really good base to build from,'' the club president said.
McPhail said improving Rangers culture was another priority looking ahead to next year.
He hopes Rangers can add a Pegg Cup side to the Barber Cup and Normanby Cup campaigns in 2021.
As for Saturday's result, McPhail said Brisbane Irish were a quality opponent.
"They wear you down and if you make a mistake, they will punish you,'' he said.
In the other final, Goodna advanced directly to the grand final after beating Redlands.
"They are the team to beat,'' McPhail said. "They have got 15 hookers basically taking the field . . . and they are hard to stop.''
Meanwhile, Faapo said he would confirm his future coaching intentions in coming weeks.
"This year wasn't about winning premierships,'' he said. "This year was about connecting dots and trying to build towards a 2-3 year plan.''
He expected the Rangers pre-season to start in late January due this year's COVID-affected season going longer than usual.