Rangers primed to defend title
THE Ipswich Rangers are continuing their march towards back-to-back rugby grand final berths.
Following last year's stellar season, in which Rangers took out the Pegg Cup and finished runner up in the Wyatt Cup, the club is on track to taste more success.
Both senior men's outfits appear headed for the playoffs again, while the women have been enjoying their first season of rugby and continually improving.
After 11 rounds, the Normanby Cup side sits second on 36 points behind Wests (44) and ahead of Colleges Knights (31).
With the Ipswich Cup on Saturday, this team enjoyed a bye and a chance to rest and allow niggling injuries to heal. Over the course of the season it has recorded seven wins and four losses.
In their last start, Rangers kept the mighty Brisbane Irish scoreless as they raced away 19-0 victors.
Ipswich also occupies second on the Pegg Cup ladder on 26 points, with four wins and five losses.
The Brisbane Irish (45) are currently leading this grade, with the Goodna Gladiators (23) sitting third.
On Friday night, the Gladiators got the better of Rangers, prevailing 17-9 in a hard-fought encounter.
Meanwhile, playing in the state's Premier Women's competition, it has been a challenging initiation for Rangers but they have battled hard to hold ninth on the ladder.
Senior co-ordinator Nick Scott said the women were always getting better and the scorelines did not always reflect the effort.
"They are constantly learning and progressing," he said.
Scott said Rangers had brought in qualified junior coaches to work with the women and teach them the basics of the game starting from the ground-up.
"The girls have really taken it on board," he said.
"It has helped quite a bit. It has been a good learning curve for all involved, both coaches and players."
The women will be hoping all of that training has paid off when they face Logan City on Saturday. Having pushed Logan all of the way in round four before going down 10-5, Rangers will be striving to secure their first triumph of the maiden campaign.
Pleased to see both men's teams building towards the business end of the season, Scott said everyone involved had been wholehearted and committed each time they took the field.
He said Rangers was far from the biggest club in south-east Queensland Rugby Union but it was high in quality and its teams consistently punched well above their weight.
"We give it to everyone," he said.
"We never give up and we play for our teammates.
"That has been the Rangers attitude for 50 years.
"Everybody brings it every week.
"Everybody plays tough and everyone puts in."
Scott said players were a bit disappointed the finals would not be held at the home of Queensland Rugby at Ballymore this season but the club stood to benefit as it would host the games instead.
Fast approaching on June 28, the Ipswich Rangers are marking Ladies' Night from 7.30pm.
The occasion will be a chance for members and supporters to celebrate not only the addition of the women's team but also the invaluable contributions of the many women who volunteer to ensure the club can function.
Scott said the brilliant family orientated culture and friendly atmosphere which existed at the club would not be possible without their tireless efforts.
"It is the people in the background that make that experience happen," Scott said.
"It is like a second job for some of the women they spend that much time there."
Old Boy's Day will follow on June 29 from 12pm.
The club is set to recognise some of its greatest long-term contributors, with the fields at Woodend Park set to be renamed in honour of the Dwyer family and Reg Hardy.
Club legends will gather on the Friday for a golf day before reuniting at Rangers on the Saturday.
Scott said it would be a great chance for ex-players to catch up with former teammates and reminisce about past glories.
"Once you have played rugby in a team, you never forget those teammates," he said.