Loss of seven clubs leaves suburban competition struggling
THE start of the Queensland Suburban Rugby Union competition this weekend will be marked with some disappointment.
Of the 12 teams to line up last year, only five clubs will return when the Barber and Pegg Cup seasons kick off on Saturday.
Despite their recent success, Springfield have elected not to run a senior side this year, with Beenleigh, Redcliffe, Everton Park, Riverside, Southern Bay and Redlands all folding back into the Second Division Scotney Cup.
To play in the top tier clubs must be able to field two teams, which is part of the reason the Scotney Cup will now boast eight teams in the one-team competition.
"It's good for them but it's a sad state for rugby union,” Ipswich Rangers coach Tino Anae said.
"The draw had to be changed because we had another team pull out. We are definitely feeling it in the grassroots (of rugby).”
With the top four teams to play finals at the end of the season, the Rangers know where they don't want to be come August.
"No one wants to be that last team,” Anae said. "My philosophy is to try and build the profile of rugby in Ipswich.
"Goodna and Springfield are part of that and having those teams do well only helps.”
On Saturday, the Rangers will host crosstown rivals the Goodna Gladiators in a local derby at Woodend Park.
A perfect way to fire up for the season ahead, Anae said both clubs would be searching for a round one win.
"Goodna are our traditional rivals,” he said.
"We've got a lot of respect for Goodna. They have a good set up going and a good coach.
"It'll be a tough game for us and I'm sure both teams will be looking forward to getting back on the field.”
Earlier this month, the Gladiators won the inaugural Rugby Tens tournament at the Rangers home ground.
Knocked out in the semi-final, Anae said Ipswich were still reeling with injuries sustained in the tournament.
"The Tens was a success for all parties and especially for the club to host such an event,” he said.
"Unfortunately we didn't fair too well with a few injuries coming out of it.
"It was good for our guys to get out and have a run but hopefully we can get a few back this week now that they have had a few weeks rest.”
With a fresh year ahead, the Rangers are hopeful of a strong performance from both sides this season.
"The majority are returning from last year as well as many new faces,” he said. "It's good because it will help the club grow from where we were last year.
"The way the pre-season has gone we are all happy with the turnout and the attitude at training.”
Ipswich Rangers v Goodna Gladiators on Saturday at Woodend Park:
Pegg Cup from 1.40pm.
Barber Cup from 3pm.