Tackling long haul with Rangers
ROB Sadler always had a tough task taking over as head coach of Ipswich Rangers this year.
He was trying to fill the boots of club legend Mike McLean, who had guided Rangers to premiership success the previous season.
But while he couldn't emulate McLean's feat in his first season, Sadler has impressed almost everyone around the Woodend club with his approach.
Sadler has tried to implement change to the way the club plays.
It didn't have immediate success but the players have bought into the plan. First grade captain Charlie Scott believes it will pay off in the long term.
Perhaps more than that, however, is the work Sadler has put into the club off the field, and assisting the Ipswich rugby community.
He has helped out coaching at Ipswich Grammar School and St Edmund's College, working as a groundsman at Rangers. He was still there working at 8.30pm one Saturday night before being there again the next morning.
"His commitment to the club has been sensational," Scott said.
If there is one criticism Phantom heard from players this season, it was that he did not spend enough time sharing a drink with the players throughout the season.
Some would argue that's not necessarily a bad thing.
SPEAKING of Ipswich Grammar School and rugby, two IGS old boys posted significant achievements this week.
Prop/hooker Albert Anae was called up into Ewen McKenzie's Wallabies squad ahead of the opening Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand next weekend.
Rod Davies, meanwhile, took out the award for try of the year on behalf of the Queensland Reds at the Australian Super Rugby Awards. Davies finished off an incredible length-of-the-field try in the Reds' round 10 match against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
You can view the try at youtube.com/watch?v= bWYERdyHGJA.
THE Ipswich Cats junior Aussie rules club delivered a fitting tribute to founding member Noel Kimlin at Limestone Park last Sunday.
The club's under-16 team formed a guard of honour, joining with Noel's daughters Debbie Briggs and Donna Beasley, and Noel's son Kris. They paused to reflect on what Kimlin did over many years before his passing earlier this year.
"It was a great moment in history with the coin toss done by the family for our under-16s," club president Sean McComb said.
McComb appreciated having past players among those surrounding the boundary line with a one minute silence followed by the sound of the siren and the release of more than 100 blue and white balloons to pay tribute.
A perpetual best and fairest plaque in Noel Kimlin's name was presented to his family for future Ipswich Eagles under-18 players to carry his memory on.
The day finished with the first Ipswich Cats over-38s masters exhibition match organised by AFLQ Masters against South Sharks.
The Cats went down 89-44 after a great effort by the old boys preparing to play next season.
LIVEWIRE Ipswich City Bulls footballer Zygan Condie is looking over his shoulder with his annual goal-scoring title under threat.
The confident striker challenges himself to score a goal a game, regularly being the club's top scorer each season. However, the passionate Bull is facing a serious threat this season with RAAFie Ben Robson hot on his heels.
A hat-trick by Robson in last weekend's 4-3 loss to Grange lifted his top side tally to nine from just six matches, closing on Condie who has 12 from 16 matches.
"Robbo" had also scored three goals in Reserve grade before joining Condie in the top team.
Condie is sure to welcome the challenge as the Bulls work hard to secure a finals spot in the Capital League 2 competition.
Not that short
WESTERN Pride were a bit short of players for their National Premier League road trip to Rockhampton last weekend.
The bench was stretched with regular starters Joel Hancock, Russell Woodruffe, Peter Drager and Niall McCarthy unavailable.
However, no one expected their general manager, chairman and a player's grandfather to play.
But it seems the Central Queensland team did.
On the NPL game day players' list below player/coach Kasey Werhman were general manager Pat Boyle, club chairman Kym Wickstein and midfielder Lincoln Rule's grandfather Ray.
Boyle probably could have played for a while, sill being fit as an Australian masters indoor cricket representative.
But even football fanatic Kym and former national player Ray would concede their playing days are over.
"I know we were short but not that short," a team official said.
PHANTOM was impressed to the see players in the Ipswich Classic Hockey League still going strong last weekend.
The "mature aged players" enjoy a social competition playing on Ipswich hockey's grass fields at Raceview on Saturday afternoons.
The players have a hit, plenty of lighter exchanges and a barbecue to enhance the social play.
However, Phantom was amused at some of the clothes the players wore.
Dressed in casual and colourful pants and shirts, the guys looked like they were ready to go fishing after enjoying their match.
But well done guys on keeping those timeless hockey skills alive.
Time to greet family
EVEN with key players out in both teams, few people would have expected Easts to thump reigning premiers Norths 7-0 in last weekend's A-grade mid-season hockey final.
At halftime leading 6-0, a number of Easts cricketing mates were probably thinking they were playing a summer game rather than winter sport the way they tallied goals.
So dominant were Easts that experienced player Daniel Mantell even had time to stop and look over the fence to see how his young family was going.
Wife Beth was nursing their latest addition Louis, with older son Harvey also on the grassed hill overlooking the main field.
IF you have any sports gossip or quirky pics, email Phantom at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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