Rangers gathering momentum
IPSWICH Rangers are talking tough ahead of their derby match against Springfield tonight.
Last time the two teams met, Springfield embarrassed the defending Barber Cup premiers to the tune of 46-18.
That was at Springfield Lakes.
This evening Rangers will have home ground advantage, as well as winning form, while Springfield are coming off a surprise home defeat.
Rangers sit four points behind the third-placed Hawks so a big win could see them overtake their regional rivals.
Ipswich captain Charlie Scott has no doubt they are on track to do just that.
"I'm very happy with how we're going," he said.
"We're coming into form when we need to."
Scott is equally confident there will be no repeat of the porous Rangers defence that enabled the Hawks to score more than 40 points against them last time.
It will be a different looking Rangers team, particularly in the backs, where Springfield had the edge last time.
"We have to (be better)," Scott said.
"We can't accept the rubbish we were throwing up a month ago.
"I think our win over Redlands two weeks ago was a step forward for us.
"If we play near that standard and keep stepping forward, Springfield shouldn't be able to handle us.
"If we hold the ball, our backs are far superior.
"They're starting to get confident and if things go to hand, they can go through or around them.
"And we've got stronger forwards.
"But it will really start for us if we defend well."
Springfield coach Jeremy Clark is preparing for a much tighter battle than Scott makes out.
"It's going to be a tough tussle," he said.
"It doesn't matter where either team sits on the table, it will be tight either way.
"I think there's going to be some big hits."
He does not expect his team to run rampant against the premiers, as they did last time as the match wore on, despite Rangers dominating the set-piece.
But nor does he think his team will be out-gunned.
"They've got a good forward pack," Clark said.
"We'll have to counter-attack."
While Rangers are confident they have turned a corner since they last lost to Springfield, Clark insists Springfield have also changed since then and are ready to spring some surprises.
"You'll see a little bit of difference on Friday," he said.
"Our backs have got to be more direct. Not go so wide so early.
"But I'm confident we can counter- attack from anywhere."
While a win will ensure local bragging rights until they next meet, Springfield needs to win to keep Rangers at bay on the ladder and keep up the pressure on the top two - Wynnum and Redlands.
"We definitely want to move up the table," Clark said.
"We're not too far off second."
In the Pegg Cup, Ipswich hosts Brisbane Irish at Woodend tonight at 8.30pm.
Barber Cup: Ipswich Rangers v Springfield Hawks at Woodend Park, tonight 7pm.
Pegg Cup: Ipswich Rangers v Brisbane Irish at Woodend Park tonight, 8.30pm.