Rangers dedicate win to coach
IF EVER a team won a grand final on heart, it was the Ipswich Rangers at Ballymore.
In a memorable Barber Cup decider against minor premiers Wynnum, Rangers recovered from blowing a 19-point lead late in the second half to win 33-26 in extra time.
Any grand final win is special.
But when Wynnum went into the additional period on the back of three tries in 12 minutes, it looked an impossible task for the Rangers on Saturday.
Rangers could easily have thrown in the towel with coach Mike McLean, regular fullback Tom Dwyer and fly-half Stewart Banks all missing due to Dwyer's wedding. Momentum and a fired-up Wynnum crowd in full voice were also against Rangers.
But conceding defeat isn't part of Rangers' ethos. When Cade Hill crossed for his second try five minutes into extra time, it was clear Ipswich were on the rise.
Strength and conditioning coach Gordon Murphy said the win was a credit to the club stalwart he stood in for.
"That was amazing, just a never-say-die attitude," Murphy said. "Guts and heart is what this team and Michael McLean have been about all season.
"He's brought this team together and kept them together for three years. He's given his heart and soul to this team and they repaid him today."
With a premiership medallion around his neck, inspirational captain Charlie Scott admitted his team nearly blew their chance.
After dominating Wynnum for 70 minutes, only a missed sideline conversion from Wynnum in the final minute gave his team a chance at redemption.
"With five or 10 to go in the main game, I thought we're done here," Scott said.
"Heads were dropping but to their credit they just dug in.
"We dominated them on the blind side all day. When our outside backs got an opportunity, they carved them up so it was great to repay those boys."
Scott dedicated the win to his retiring coach and the players who missed the game due to a scheduling change.
"That's our fifth game against them (Wynnum) but it's the sweetest," Scott said.
"We've come close but haven't been able to get past them this year until today.
"This for the blokes who weren't here today.
"Mike McLean is finishing up this year, he's a stalwart of the club so this was as much for him, Tommy and Stewie as us."
Rangers' incredible win came after Springfield capped off their dominant Pegg Cup season with a 43-24 grand final win over Beenleigh.
Ipswich Rangers 33 (Cade Hill 2, Bryce Litzow tries; Jarrod Lacey 3 conversions, 2 penalty goals, 2 drop goals) def Wynnum Bugs 26 (scorers unavailable).