Rangers coach sends warning to CPL competition – “our aim is to win it”
Macleay Valley Rangers coach Jason Coleman has set the challenge for his players ahead of their Coastal Premier League season opener on April 2.
He’s fired the opening salvo to the other 11 teams in the competition – Rangers are not content just to make up the numbers.
“Our aim is not to make finals, mate, our aim is to win it and that’s what we’re setting out to do this year. That’s us in a nutshell,” Coleman said.
Despite their eighth-place finish last season, the statistics would suggest their 2021 campaign was a blip on the radar and they have every right to be confident about the season ahead.
They made the southern conference grand final in 2020 and registered successive second-place finishes in both 2019 and 2018 at the end of the regular season.
Rangers were minor premiers in 2017 which indicates they could be poised for a return to the pointy end of the ladder.
“You’ve got to taste a little bit of unsuccessfulness to appreciate and get back to the top and I know the guys are working hard to get there and to achieve that again,” Coleman said.
“We also now know that coming into this league it’s a lot harder (than previous competitions) so you’ve got to work harder, it’s as simple as that.”
Centre back and captain Troy Ward along with the Applegate brothers – Sam and Chad – will be key to Rangers climbing the CPL ladder.
Chad Applegate returns after a knee injury sidelined him for two months in 2021 and Coleman suggested team morale had improved and pre-season training had been high intensity.
Rangers never filled the hole up front following Applegate’s injury 12 months ago which resulted in them finding the back of the net only 28 times in 18 matches.
Only Taree and Sawtell scored fewer goals.
“I believe I’ve now got the troops to [challenge for the championship],” Coleman said.
“We’ve had a few players that have come back after a year off and I’m really looking forward to the season to be quite honest.
“It comes down to a good pre-season, hard training, good team morale and a bit of belief with the guys. Once they get that going again they’ll be in the mix for sure.”