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05 June 2010

Rugby Union: Goodna to host the Rangers

SECOND spot on the Barber Cup ladder is up for grabs but there is  more at stake when Goodna host Ipswich Rangers at Evan Marginson Oval  tomorrow afternoon.

Goodna are motivated for revenge over rivals Ipswich
Rangers tomorrow after Rangers claimed the points
in their first round clash.

SECOND spot on the Barber Cup ladder is up for grabs but there is more at stake when Goodna host Ipswich Rangers at Evan Marginson Oval tomorrow afternoon.

"If we win this week and Springfield lose (away to Pine Rivers) it makes it hard for Springfield to make the top four," Rangers five-eighth Stewart Banks said.

"That helps our chances of making the finals."

A second win over Goodna this season would also give Rangers a psychological boost if the teams are to meet again.

"We lost to them twice last year so to go in with that (having beaten them twice this year) will give us a lot more confidence," Banks said.

As per usual in recent seasons, Goodna have been winning games by the barest of margins, grinding opponents into the ground.

Given Rangers' penchant for attacking rugby, Banks expects a torrid battle in the forwards as the Gladiators try to thwart their best intentions.

"It's always a tough battle against them," he said.

"It's going to be tough in the forwards. We've been starting to play a lot better rugby, more expansive and attacking.

"They'll try to keep it in the forwards and keep it nice and tight."

Rangers' backline has clicked in recent weeks, since coach Mike McLean made a few changes.

Banks in particular has appreciated the swapping of former halfback Nick Horrigan with former fullback Ben O'Connell.

"We're getting cleaner ball and better attacking from fullback," Banks said.

None of which would be possible without a front foot ball coming from the forwards.

It means the Rangers' pack will have to be prepared to take the battle to the big Goodna eight. Banks is confident they can, as they did in their previous encounter, when Rangers won comfortably at Woodend.

The five-eighth believes part of the reason is the help Rangers have had from former Brisbane Wests head coach Tony Cross, who has been assisting head coach Mike McLean.

"He has brought his structures down and we're sticking to them," Banks said.

"Our forwards are working in pods and we've got good depth in our backs."

The other thing helping Rangers this season has been the increased competition for places, with Rangers fielding three senior teams.

"The depth there and people fighting for positions is making for a better club," Banks said.

"People know if they play terribly, they'll get dropped so everyone is trying harder."

The Barber Cup clash starts at 3pm, preceded by the Pegg Cup clash between the same clubs at 1.30pm.

Rangers have the bye in the Scotney Cup.

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