Ipswich Rangers claimed local bragging rights after defeating Goodna 16-12 in their rain affected Barber Cup clash at Woodend. Photo: Rob Williams
AT the end of the Barber Cup clash between Rangers and Goodna at Woodend on Saturday, one team remained undefeated this year, the other winless.
However, the match, won 16-12 by Rangers in dreadful conditions, proved the gap between the two teams is a lot narrower than the ladder suggests.
Although Goodna outscored the home team two tries to one, Rangers never surrendered the lead they established early on through winger Isaac Creedy's try.
Rangers' five-eighth Stuart Banks proved the difference, slotting all four shots at goal, despite coming in for some special attention from the Goodna defence.
“They knocked us off our axis a bit,” Rangers coach Mike McLean said.
“They play a pretty aggressive brand of football.
“They had our blokes double-guessing a bit.
“There were a few sore bodies at the end of it.”
The weather played into Goodna's hands, as they tried to bash their way through, while hindering Rangers' attempts to throw the ball about.
“We coughed up a lot of ball,” McLean said.
“They played better in the conditions.
“We're a pretty good dry weather team.”
While Banks kicked Rangers home after they led 7-5 at halftime, it was some resolute defence that kept a late Goodna charge from coming to fruition.
“We hung on late,” McLean said. “They were throwing the kitchen sink at us.”
McLean was far from happy with the overall performance but took solace knowing his team has the character to win in unfavourable conditions.
“It was a pretty ugly win but we'll take it,” he said.
“We haven't really had the opportunity to play the style of footy we want to play.
“We have pace to burn but can't get them the footy.”
In similar circumstances, McLean wants to see his team play more for field position, instead of putting themselves under pressure by trying to play the game from their own half.
It was only asking for trouble against a physical defence like that of the Gladiators.
“We didn't adjust our game plan to be forward-oriented because we knew that would play into their hands,” McLean said.
“It was about field position.
“We needed to kick to the corners. But to Goodna's credit, they put a lot of pressure on us.”
Banks and Rangers' other main kicker in general play, Tom Dwyer, came in for plenty of attention.
Goodna knew precisely who to target as five-eighth Miller Lemalu is a former Rangers player.
McLean paid tribute to his battered five-eighth Banks.
“He copped a couple of really decent whacks,” the coach said.
“They rattled his cage a bit but he stood up to it well and kicked for goal beautifully.”
Others to earn the coach's praise were openside flanker Jake Creedy and inside centre Vili Koori.
McLean expects Goodna to end its losing streak soon and would not be surprised to see the Gladiators in the semi-finals. “They'll be thereabouts if they continue to play like that,” he said.
All Brisbane subdistricts rugby competitions take a break for Easter this weekend.