Junior Rangers chase premiership glory
RUGBY UNION: The mighty Ipswich Rangers have two junior teams preparing to contest knockout finals at the GPS Rugby Club at Ashgrove on Sunday.
The under-13 age group has emerged as a strength for the Woodend club.
Both teams finished third at the end of the season to qualify for the semis.
Division one white is set to face Souths from 8.30am and division three green kick-off against Norths at 10.50am.
After winning the under-12 grand final last year, division one hopes to go back-to-back.
Coach Hiwa Gregory said the side was a crack outfit possessing at least eight representative players and it entered the elimination game full of self-belief after upsetting its top-ranked opposition two weeks ago.
He said three players, including two wingers and a prop were in doubt for the season-defining match.
"We're confident but not overconfident,” he said.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves.”
Gregory said division three green had enjoyed a mixed season during which it battled stoically and suffered a number of narrow nailbiting losses.
He said Rangers needed to win their last regular game in order to qualify for the finals and the developing players delivered their best under extreme pressure to secure the playoff berth.
"All of their games have been close,” he said.
"They should do well.”
The Steve Woodruffe-coached green machine will join division one for training twice this week to fine tune and finalise combinations ahead of the do or die matches.
Gregory said there was a glut of young emerging talent in the western region.
He said Rangers was striving to build its junior ranks and it was heartening to see the club growing and continually improving on the field.
He encouraged supporters to head along and cheer the junior finalists over the line.