Strong mateship lifts Rangers to unbeaten grand final glory
AFTER an undefeated season that was three years in the making, the victorious Ipswich Rangers celebrated with a bus trip through the Scenic Rim.
Such a team-minded approach typifies this year's Rangers Normanby Cup rugby side which completed its remarkable 2020 campaign with a 32-3 grand final victory.
"We're absolutely ecstatic,'' co-coach Chad de Waard said.
"The defence was superb and Logan played very well.
"It's the best I've seen Logan play. Their defence in the first half was very good.
"We had a lot of ball and they held us out.''
However, knowing the group of players Rangers had, de Waard said he was always confident his team could cap its unbeaten season in style.
Asked to sum up why Rangers had dominated all season, de Waard answered: "Strong mateship''.
That was highlighted with the winning team enjoying some beers together on their bus trip organised the next day.
"Even the league guys (that joined the team) said they hadn't played in a team where everyone gets on really well with each other,'' he said.
"I think that comes back to the discipline of the boys. In our team, we have expectations now. "We don't like yellow cards and red cards and we respect the referees.''
The grand final was played at Rangers Woodend Park home ground, rewarding the Ipswich team for its impressive record.
"A lot of our Old Boys that were down there said they hadn't seen a crowd like it on Friday night,'' de Waard said. "It was tremendous atmosphere.''
Captain and number 10 Cal Waldrum was fittingly named man of the match after Rangers consolidated their 10-3 halftime lead to surge to victory.
"He had the perfect game actually,'' de Waard said. "He pretty much controlled the whole game.
"His kicking game was superb. The field position, we just dominated throughout the game.''
Rangers tries were scored by Nick Munro, Jarryd Verrenkamp, Jake O'Doherty and Joel Dennis.
Number one kicker Brock McNulty booted three conversions and one penalty goal. Co-coach Stewart Banks landed a penalty goal.
Club stalwart Banks played a key role in organising the Normanby Cup team three years ago leading into the club's 50th anniversary celebrations.
"We've had a couple of losses in that time in grand finals and pretty big finals so it was just good for once to be on the other end.''
Unable to finish the season with a neck injury, de Waard also praised Josh Seage, Chris Jones, Andrew Kirk, Damien West and Jakob Tierney for powerhouse games, particularly in defence.
The St Edmund's College teacher thanked all the support staff like co-coach Banks and managers Nicholas Pender, Trent Quinn and Nick Scott.
First-aider Gordon Murphy was also a valuable member of the team.
"Rohan McPhail and the rest of the committee have supported the team throughout the season really well,'' de Waard said.
"And just the players. Even the injured players were there and supporting all the way through.''
After injuring his neck about six weeks ago and told not to play on, de Waard said he won't be having a run next season.
He said it was too early to know how many of the winning side will return next season.
"But no-one's in a hurry to leave,'' he said, hoping the formidable friendships continue to support Rangers in the future.