Robert Sadler. Action from the Ipswich Rangers v Toowoomba Rangers rugby union trial match at Woodend on Saturday, March 23.
Robert Sadler. Action from the Ipswich Rangers v Toowoomba Rangers rugby union trial match at Woodend on Saturday, March 23. Claudia Baxter

Ipswich Rangers unit has long road ahead

IPSWICH Rangers head into the new Barber Cup season with something to think about after a comprehensive trial loss to Toowoomba Rangers on Saturday.

Ipswich went down 32-12 in the annual Battle of the Rangers at Woodend this year.

The result aside, Ipswich coach Rob Sadler was satisfied with the workout his team was given, ahead of round one of the Barber Cup the weekend following Easter.

"The game against Toowoomba Rangers was an excellent fixture," Sadler said. "It provided a tough physical contest, highlighting our need for greater accuracy in contact and quicker recycled ball."

A further positive was the debut of centre Mark Chapman.

Playing his first game for the club, Chapman was named player of the day for a solid performance. He also made a gutsy return to the game after a solid collision with a goal post while scoring a try in the first period of play.

However, Sadler acknowledged the need for his team to vastly improve certain aspects of its play.

"The defence of the visiting Rangers was given time to maintain good structure and exert constant pressure," he said.

"This reduced time and space and put pressure on our decision-making and attacking organisation.

"In the first half, we turned over a lot of ball in attack due to poor ball security and late support of the ball carrier.

"At the mid-game break, these issues were discussed and I was very pleased with the on-field improvement in all aspects."

The new coach knows it will take time for Rangers to fully grasp what he is trying to implement, even if the defending premiers head into the new season with high expectations.

"The players are adjusting to new ideas, a new coach and I am exploring many positional options to extend the players and gather an accurate assessment of their individual skill sets," Sadler said.

"It has been a slightly disjointed preparation due to the added inconvenience of the weather and ground closures, but we have made good progress over the past two weeks.

"Rangers has given us plenty of valuable information to prepare for our first Barber Cup game after the Easter break.

"We have a number of new players this year and several new seniors that have graduated from the strong Ipswich Rangers junior program, who all performed well in a new environment."



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