The Ipswich Rangers Wyatt Cup team that has made a late charge towards the grand final this season. Photo: Bruce Clayton
The Ipswich Rangers Wyatt Cup team that has made a late charge towards the grand final this season. Photo: Bruce Clayton

'Good blokes' having a 'bit of fun' eye grand final

RUGBY: While enjoying Ipswich's social club atmosphere is a major appeal, Rangers' Wyatt Cup players won't be holding back in Friday night's preliminary final.

Rangers still have plenty to play for after thrashing Brothers 76-3 last Friday night at Woodend Park.

Victory over second-placed Brisbane Irish on Friday night will propel the third-placed Rangers into the Brisbane suburban competition grand final against minor premiers Med XV.

That would give the Ipswich club two grand final opportunities with Rangers' Pegg Cup side already through to the premiership decider.

Wyatt Cup captain Stewart Banks said the club's squad largely featured former and older rugby players wanting to have "a bit of fun''.

"They are a good bunch of blokes that have come back to play together,'' Banks said.

However, after regaining a full strength side in last weekend's elimination final win over Brothers, Rangers have nothing to lose in trying to reach the grand final.

"It's a social atmosphere bringing back a fair few older fellas,'' Banks said, pleased to see long-time Rangers supporters still having a run.

"But when we're on a football field, it's totally different.

"It's a serious atmosphere.

"We don't play football to lose. We're there to win it. We've kept high hopes.''

Rangers and Irish drew 17-17 in their previous clash on July 27 after Ipswich's earlier 20-0 and 29-19 losses to Friday night's opponents.

Banks said Rangers' "marquee player'' Callum Waldrum would have a big role to play in securing Ipswich's preliminary final success.

The number 10 was among Rangers' eight try scorers in last weekend's crushing victory.

However, Banks made a solid contribution too, kicking eight conversions.

Brisbane Irish qualified for Friday night's preliminary final after losing 22-8 to minor premiers Med XV.

"We should be all good,'' the captain and Rangers junior said. "We go into the finals with only one or two injuries.

"It will be a tight game.

"I'm confident the boys will come through.''

Rangers' Pegg Cup side will play the winner of this weekend's preliminary between Goodna and Caboolture in the grand final at Ballymore on August 25.

Wyatt Cup preliminary final: Friday (6.30pm) - Ipswich Rangers v Brisbane Irish at Norths ground in Brisbane.