Top 50 Rangers named at emotional Ipswich occasion
IF the emotion, spirit and pride showcased at the gala dinner is any indication, everyone involved with Ipswich Rangers can look forward to another highly successful 50 years.
More than 150 players, officials and supporters celebrated a magnificent sporting milestone at Rangers' 50th year anniversary function at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Saturday night.
As delighted Ipswich Rangers Rugby Union Club president Jason Dutton declared: "The whole night was a highlight''.
"It was an excellent night, great vibe,'' he said.
"It was awesome to have lots of our Old Boys, life members there.''
Special moments included the naming of "Rangers top 50 of all time'' and recognising the valuable work of some dedicated people.
Rangers stalwarts Reg Hardie and the Dwyer family were honoured as the "top two'' club contributors over five decades.
Hardie was the inaugural life member named in 1978.
The Dwyer family featured Barney, Brian, Thomas and Jimmy who fulfilled many official or A-Grade playing roles.
Fittingly, the legacy of Hardie and the Dwyer family will live on for years to come at Rangers' home base at Woodend Park.
Field 1 will be named after Hardie for his tireless work in the first 25 years of Rangers history. That included his initial efforts setting up the club, fields and original goal posts.
Hardie also led the way rebuilding the club after the 1974 floods swamped the Rangers' ground.
A story was recounted on the night how the floodwaters forced big pine trees behind the Rangers shed to bend over.
Field 2 will be named after the Dwyer clan who collectively contributed so much over the past 25 years.
Dutton said the Hardie and Dwyer families would be invited to Woodend Park in the future for an official naming ceremony.
However, Dutton said the humbleness of the Dwyer family on Saturday night typified the wonderful Rangers spirit.
"They were very emotional and really proud to have that bestowed upon them,'' he said.
Other club greats chosen in the "top 50'' included number three Michael McLean, #4 Steve Castles, #5 Geoff Brown, #6 Mark Osborne, #7 Grant Morrison, #8 Geoff Pegg, #9 Barry Hoffensetz and #10 Nick Pender.
Dutton said counting down the top 50 in sets of 10 was well received at the gala dinner.
"We had a large contingent of the top 50 present and they didn't know they were getting an award,'' he said.
"Everyone was stoked to be a part of it.''
Club vice-president Paula Watkins was instrumental in organising the gala event.
Dutton also praised treasurer Kaylene Barrett Graves and MC Ben Dobson for their valuable contributions on the night.
An auction jersey raised more than $7000 for the club.
Saturday night's gala dinner capped a series of occasions and milestones marking Rangers 50 years.
A special book entitled Glorious Green & White - 50 years of the Ipswich Rangers was recently released, capturing many fine moments and stories since the club was first forged around a kitchen table at the Palais Royal Hotel on March 21, 1968.
Since then, Rangers has produced many elite players and some of Ipswich's most committed volunteers and officials.
Other 50 year anniversary events included a golf day at Sandy Gallop Golf Club on July 21 and a special day of junior and senior matches last Saturday before the dinner.
That featured the Rangers over 30's players uniting for a game and displaying good sportsmanship in another scratch match.
Rangers' top side this season is also preparing for next month's finals after securing the minor premiership in this year's Pegg Cup competition.
Rangers enjoyed a terrific 42-15 win over Caboolture last Saturday to continue their recent progress.
As Rangers reflect on their fantastic month of celebrations, the club is set to host a Friday night finals program on August 10.
The other Rangers players named in the top 50 at last Saturday night's Gala Dinner were: #50 Jeffrey McLean, #49 Gordon Murphy, #48 Bruce Peel, #47 John Osborne, #46 Paula Watkins, #45 Justin Gerhke, #44 Cameron Stokes, #43 Simon Turner, #42 Joseph Creedy, #41 Rohan McPhail, #40 Jeff Nicholson, #39 Gary Aitken, #38 Brady Castles, #37 Jason Dutton, #36 Mak Fatialofa, #35 Tom Leadbetter, #34 Damian Roche, #33 Kim Rowcliffe, #32 Hiwa Gregory, #31 Madonna Trevorrow, #30 Stewart Banks, #29 Jim Ward, #28 Jim Baxter, #27 Graham (Grizz) Raddunz, #26 Craig Eason, #25 Lige Donald, #24 David Roche, #23 Jim Lee, #22 Alan Kirkwood, #21 Sel Foote, #20 Phil Thompson, #19 Dave Handyside, #18 Dom Chalk, #17 Alex McLean, #16 Roger Jones, #15 Dan Trevorrow, #14 Graham Hight, #13 Garry Hill, #12 Ted Ellis, #11 The Wadley family (Les, Rob, Bill and Keith).