Macleay Valley Rangers on track for finals double

KEMPSEY Retravision Rangers will contest their eighth straight premier league grand final this Saturday after seeing off Wallis Lakes.

The reigning premiers won 2-1 in a close and exciting game, with Jeremy Masters the main destroyer.

The big striker scored with two headers to break the hearts of the home side supporters and brought to a end an eight-game scoring drought.

Rangers will play Taree Wildcats at Forster’s Harry Elliott sporting complex in a repeat of last year’s grand final.

The Coastline Credit Union-sponsored first grade and the reserve grade team will want to add to the club's great success already this year with both the under-18s and senior women’s sides crowned champions for 2012. 

Rangers are yet to secure a silverwear double, despite having both first and reserve grades in the grand final for three years in a row,.

The under-18s beat Forster Tigers 4-0 in the Champion of Champions on Sunday.

This year at the start was somewhat of a struggle for first grade, sitting in forth spot on the ladder heading into the second round they turned it all around and finished in second spot with Taree on top.

The club had its worst losing streak, with four straight losses early on - the worst being against Port Saints, after leading 2-0 with four minutes to go and finishing 2-3.

That is all water under the bridge now, with the team full of confidence and not dropping any points in the second round. 

Taree will go into the decider as hot favourites, having only lost once this year.

That was against Rangers, when they hammered the Manning side 7-0 at Wingham.

Saturday’s game was a nail-biter, with Rangers leading 2-0 at half time.

The hosts had the wind behind their backs in the second half and  put Rangers under all sorts of pressure.

Masters had a great chance to put the game to bed after 10 minutes in the second half, following some great lead-up work, but his shot found the keeper instead.

The defence of Matt Johnstone, Ash Dean and Paul Thurlow, with keeper Shaun Glover, held tight and conceded only one goal.

Steve Morn made his long awaited return from injury and lasted three quarters of the game before cramp got the better of him.

Morn has been missing for six weeks, after pulling his thigh muscle scoring a long-range goal against Port FC.

His physical game has been missing in midfield and his return has taken a lot of pressure of Reece Colman and young John Henry. 

The home side did score and for the final 12 minutes Rangers found it hard to get out of their own half with the Lakies throwing everything at them.

The Great Northern Hotels players’ player went to Jeremy Masters, with Ash Dean getting two points and Steve Morn one.

It finished 2-1, with Rangers now concerned about a few injuries to some key players.

John Henry (groin), Ash Dean (ankle), Paul Thurlow(calf) and Matt Johnstone (knee) are all heading to the medical ward.

Both first and reserve grade sides will play Taree Wildcats after that side beat Port United 2-1 in reserve grade 2.

A bus will leave the Great Northern Hotel at 9am.

If supporters want a seat please, ring Dean Riordan  on 0428 628 800, or Sharon Applegate on 0408 626 759. The cost will be $15.

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