Rangers anxious to hold lead
A WIN for Ipswich tomorrow will give them one hand on the Barber Cup minor premiership.
Rangers sit two points behind Pine Rivers but have a game in hand as they look to welcome Redcliffe to Woodend.
Rangers fullback Tom Dwyer is well aware of the threat posed by Redcliffe who suffered a surprise loss to Brisbane Irish last weekend.
It means fifth-placed Redcliffe must win two of its final three games to reach the semi-finals.
They pushed Ipswich to a 32-22 win in round seven, which had Rangers counting themselves lucky to escape.
“They’ll be tough,” said Dwyer, who is the competition’s runaway leading tryscorer with 18.
“They’re always tough and very enthusiastic.
“They were very full-on in the first half and came back against us late on.”
However Dwyer has no doubt Ipswich can weather the storm.
“If we stay structured and get a good start,” the carpenter said.
“We’ve just got to hold on to it and not let it go.”
Dwyer was taking plenty of positives from his team’s 66-0 defeat of Sunnybank last weekend.
“It was good because we didn’t slacken off the whole game,” he said. “We defended really well when we had to.”
This time last year Rangers were building towards a premiership.
This season they have been the benchmark throughout.
“I think we’ve got a better side than last year,” Dwyer said.
“The feeling at the club is very good.
“I think we’re playing better footy. We’re a bit more structured.
“Having another year training with the structures has improved the way we’ve played.
“We’ve also got a bit better skill level than last year.”
If there is one area Dwyer believes needs, if not improving, then constant attention, is their defence.
“Defence is always the key at this time of year,” he said.
“And just finishing off games, not slacking off.
“I think it’s a concentration thing more than anything.”
This weekend’s clash is followed by matches against Brisbane Irish and Everton Park, who sit second and third from bottom.
Winning just one of them will mean Rangers meet last year’s grand final opponents Pine Rivers in the first week of finals, with the winner going straight through to the grand final.
“Pine Rivers (are our biggest threat) and if we meet Springfield in the final,” Dwyer said.
Rangers have beaten Pine Rivers twice but had their only two losses to Springfield who have a bye this weekend but should still qualify for the finals.
But Dwyer doesn’t think any of those results will have a bearing come finals.
“I think it will be a clean slate,” he said. “We’ll take it like any other final.”