Groundbreaking club fields first women's team
IPSWICH Rangers are preparing to host another historic rugby event, just months after the high of their 50 year club celebrations.
The two men's teams in this year's Brisbane suburban competition have been joined by a new Rangers women's combination, creating more terrific history for the proud Ipswich club.
Rangers president Jason Dutton was delighted to see a grassroots platform created for more female players while consolidating men's numbers in the restructured Brisbane competition.
"It's pretty exciting this year. This is the first time we've ever had a ladies team,'' Dutton said.
Rangers Old Boy Nick Scott agreed, saying it was fitting that women could now enjoy rugby in Ipswich and share in the club's camaraderie.
"I've been involved in the club for nearly 20 years now and I'm so glad to see the club moving forward,'' Scott said.
"We've celebrated women's days and ladies days for so many years just to say thank you for the ladies who have helped us out and lots of ladies help us out.
"If it was not for our ladies we'd have no sport.''
Now, the female footy enthusiasts have a team of their own at Rangers.
The newly-formed Rangers women's side play their first home game at Woodend Park on Saturday afternoon against GPS.
Scott has invited everyone who enjoys rugby to cheer on the newcomers who play a 1.50pm match before the Rangers men kick off their second round encounter at Woodend.
With 30 years of rugby experience, Scott is coaching the Normanby Cup men's side and new women's team this season.
Adam Nixon is assisting with the women.
Scott and Nixon are keen to help the new women's players improve after a tough opening round loss to a powerful UQ team.
"A lot of them had never played before in their life,'' Scott said. "It's been a big learning curve.
"We're very happy with how the girls have gone, very aware (of what's required).
"When you're coaching ladies, it's very hard to realise that if you've never seen or played the sport before you really have to start from the ground roots.''
Scott said the women's team now has more than 18 players after being put together in the off-season to fulfil a deserved need.
Rangers' Normanby Cup men's team opened their season with a 12-10 win last Friday night over 2018 grand finalists Med XV.
Rangers' Pegg Cup side received early points due to an opponent's forfeit last Saturday.
While happy to see the women up and running, Dutton was confident Rangers would field competitive men's teams after last year's grand final successes.
Ipswich's Pegg Cup side beat Caboolture 38-12 in the grand final at Ballymore after Rangers' Wyatt Cup combination lost the premiership decider 19-10 to Med XV.
"We've got the numbers at the moment,'' Dutton said. "We've just decided to be conservative this year (to make sure both teams have enough players).
"We just don't want to get to the point of halfway through the year when our air force guys go away on deployment or go away for their internal games, that are we left short and struggle week in, week out while they are away.
"We're trying to find a balance where everyone gets a run every week.''
Apart from coaching the Rangers' women, Scott is senior team co-ordinator.
As Rangers also look to boost junior numbers, Dutton was thrilled to hear people still talking about the club's 50 year celebrations last year.
The memorable celebrations featured a book release and a number of activities including a special dinner at the Ipswich Civic Centre.