Ipswich Rangers face a defining year
THE looming 2016 season shapes as a crucial one for the Ipswich Rangers Rugby Union Club.
Having slipped in recent seasons from their pre-eminent position among the Brisbane subdistricts elite, Rangers have put their faith in a new president and new coaching team to restore the lustre at the Woodend based club.
Jason Dutton takes over the role of club president for 2016, with Mark Hamling and Tino Anae coaching the first grade (Barber Cup) side.
This year Dutton was vice-president of the club, which had no president.
In 2016, he will be president of a club with no vice-president.
Dutton admits it means his actual responsibilities will change little.
But being officially voted in president, with this year's experience under his belt, has given him the confidence to back his judgement on changes where he feels they are required.
"A couple of the guys were keen to see me have a crack and I was happy to accept the nomination," the former Rangers player, coach and club secretary said.
"I have more confidence with the experience of 2015 and I've got a very strong committee with lots of experience to draw on."
That includes former president Kim Rowcliffe, secretary Nick Pender, treasurer Ken Schoeman and registrar Sharon O'Neill, all of whom have been on the club's committee for many years. "That gives me confidence that when we do make a decision it is for the betterment of the club," Dutton said.
Rangers have been given a boost by the approval of a $100,000 state government grant to install automatic underground irrigation at their Woodend base.
It will mean less work for club officials and a better playing surface.
To ensure the club's footballers can meet the standards of their grounds one of Dutton's main goals for 2016 is to re-establish a colts team.
Rangers have been without a colts team for several years and without them they are missing out on potential long-term club men.
"I'm quite confident we'll get that up and running,'' Dutton said. "We've put a little bit more energy into it this year."
Driving the push to re-establish a colts side has been club committee member Maioha Gregory and newly appointed 2016 colts coach Jeff Austin.
Austin coached the Rangers Reserve grade side in the Pegg Cup this year.
They have been recruiting players from Ipswich high schools.
Rangers training resumes on January 12 at Woodend Park.
- President - Jason Dutton
- Secretary - Nick Pender
- Treasurer - Ken Schoeman
- Registrar - Sharon O'Neill