Rangers celebrate lucky escape - massive finals at home
IPSWICH Rangers vice-captain Jarred Lacey had never received a second opportunity to kick a winning conversion - until his team's latest dramatic victory.
With the Springfield Lakes Hawks leading 32-31 in the closing stages of their Barber Cup elimination final, the Rangers stalwart lined up his shot and missed.
However, Lacey was awarded a second attempt after the referee ruled the Springfield players broke the line too early.
His follow-up kick from the sideline was successful, giving the Rangers a stunning 33-32 win over a spirited Springfield side at Redlands.
"There was a bit of yelling when they were running out to charge down (the kick),'' Lacey said.
"It was unfortunate for them because they played a pretty good game but rules are rules so I was lucky enough to get a second chance at it.
"It's the first time (that's happened) so I'll take that.''
Lacey is in his 11th season with the Ipswich club.
Fifth-placed Rangers advanced to the next stage of the Queensland Suburban Rugby Union (QSRU) finals at Woodend on Saturday with Springfield eliminated this season.
"We started pretty well but they came out strong in the second half and we didn't recover until about the 65th minute,'' Lacey said.
"Then we managed to get a couple of calls and score a couple of tries (to set up the last-gasp conversion).
"To be fair, we probably let the game slip. When we were leading (14-12) at halftime, we should have probably come out and started a bit better.
"But they (Springfield) came out firing and scored a few easy tries. That's footy and that happens.''
Lacey captained the 2018 grand final-winning Pegg Cup side. He is joined in this year's higher level Barber Cup team by a number of loyal Rangers players and some rugby league recruits.
The Ipswich team's nailbiting success came as the Rangers women continued their impressive season.
The Rangers women beat Logan 69-5 in the first week of finals at Redlands on Saturday.
The victories by the Rangers Barber Cup men and women's sides have set up a massive weekend of rugby at Woodend Park.
The unbeaten Rangers Normanby Cup side kick off the exciting matches on Friday night with a qualifying final against the Logan City Saints. The winner advances directly to the grand final.
On Saturday, the Rangers women tackle arch rivals Redlands in the 1pm encounter. The victor heads to the grand final with the loser getting a second chance.
The Rangers Barber Cup side then continues its finals charge against Brisbane Irish in the 1.50pm game.
The afternoon of finals wraps up at 4pm when Goodna and Redlands contest the other Barber Cup playoff.
"It's going to be a massive day so hopefully we can get some good support out there and get a big crowd to help us over the line,'' Lacey said.
Lacey said the Rangers Barber Cup players were ready for another shot at Brisbane Irish with both sides having a win each.
Brisbane Irish won the latest clash last month when Rangers had a player sent off in the first half and were missing a number of regulars.
"We took a lot out of that game,'' Lacey said.
"I'm pretty confident we can do well on Saturday.''
Former junior coach Paul Faapo has guided the Barber Cup players this season.
"He's doing really well. He's one of the best coaches I've ever had,'' Lacey said.
"It's sort of a core group from last year that have carried on.
"It's taken a while to gel and keep our best team on the field with injuries and a bit of a different season.
"We've stuck together as a new core group and now we're two games away from the grand final.''
He said having some players returning from injury would also help his side.
"It's one of those years but we're in a good spot now,'' Lacey said.
First-time Rangers women's coach Niccy Muller is overseeing her side which has lost just one match. That was to Saturday's opponents Redlands, setting up another terrific tussle at Woodend Park.
"They have got a pretty strong outfit. They have got a lot of experienced girls as well,'' Muller said, eagerly awaiting the 1pm duel in Ipswich on Saturday.
Muller said her team had worked hard with a foundation of 10 players and some valuable recruits.
"We have definitely improved a lot through the season,'' she said, stepping up the team's training commitment.
"The progress of most of the girls' development has come along real quick.''