Sydney Rangers FC

AA9 2021 Season Review

A Fresh Start

Being a player, committee member, and captain in the mere 3 years I’ve been a part of the club, it was only a matter of time before I dabbled into the management of the team, and despite the season abruptly ending, it was an absolute delight. It was the second successive season where Covid has been our enemy and rival to having a successful season. As well as Covid being a second year in a row, this was only the second year the current “B” team existed after being formed in 2020. The team and club had welcomed new additions to make up this year’s team, and I felt it was definitely the strongest B team I had seen in my 3 years within the club, and the results proved exactly that.

Pre-Season

With only 1 Pre-Season Friendly being able to be played due to wet weather, a strong showing in the early training sessions gave me the confidence that we would have a great year.

The Season

Our first game saw us match up against a familiar team in Concord which despite lack of game time, allowed us to prepare accordingly. That first game saw me having to step in and referee the match, and a contentious Roy Keane-esque tackle from our rock at the back, Mr Esposito, forced me to award a penalty to the opposition late on. The term squeaky bum time came to my mind for the last 15 or so minutes but we saw it out. The regular trainers were both improving on an individual basis, and substantially as a team which was evident in the following two matches on a double-header weekend as the points started rolling in.. We started that following weekend with an incredible match that made my referee performance seem like I should be officiating the Socceroos. Despite the endless contentious decisions in that match, they didn’t put us down. If anything they ignited the fire in the lads to push on and get what we fully deserved, and we did exactly that with 2 goals in the final 10 minutes to come away with a 3-2 victory – a match I was most proud of this year. After picking up another 3 points, we went on to play our familiar opponents of Balmain and another incredible performance saw us hold on to secure another 3-2 victory thanks to a couple of stunning goals from Nico and Ahmed. Our success continued, scoring another 18 and conceding only 3 in those following 4 matches before we hit a few hurdles. In a performance that I would only deem as crazy, a quick reverse fixture vs Balmain then saw us fall to a 4-1 defeat, and that unfortunately wasn’t the end of our bad luck. The following two matches saw us play brilliantly, but take no points losing in both by just one goal. With injuries happening left, right and centre we faced a Concord side out for revenge. Having not long gotten back from injury himself, our other defensive rock Lloydy leapt up in the centre circle, landing awkwardly resulting in an ambulance being called and the abonment of the game. Much to our amusement at the time to try and lighten the mood, in the days after we found out that the rules in place meant the continuation of that fixture soon after, would result in us having to continue on with only 9 men. This meant our next match against then top of the league Strathfield A, was vital in our bid to claim the title. Yet again we were short on players. Despite Mr Quarisa standing in as CB for the first half (a massive thank you once again), injuries and a last minute withdrawal left us with 11 in the first half and only 10 in the second half. We pressed on in playing conditions as what I would only describe as playing on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke, and overcame the odds to comfortably beat them 2-0. That was what I hoped to be the turning point of the season, back on track to winning ways but little did we know, that would be our final game of the season.

Covid Times

Covid started ramping up in Mid-June in Sydney, and we were preparing to face Concord with only 7 players as we weren’t able to use any of the other 5 players who weren’t present in the abandoned game. Fortunately at the time for us, the game was postponed due to the covid outbreak and the season never continued. Despite the season coming to an end so soon, I absolutely loved coaching the boys this year. With a whole heap of new additions to the team, luck going against us with injuries, debt collector Ellis keeping us all in check week in week out, and some Covid driven virtual hangs – it’s been a class year.

Looking Forward

Although not everyone will be joining next season (take care in Spain Ilias), the current B team are excited to get back to the pub shortly after the restrictions ease on Oct 11, and shortly after get back on the pitch and show our unbelievable tekkers at Waverley Oval.

A big thank you also goes out to my partner in crime and B Team Manager Mr Hunt for stepping up to expertly help steer the ship.

Thanks,

Jacob Knero

AA1 2021 Season Review

Finishing runners up in our first season in Div1 in 2020, the whole team was raring to go for our second attempt to snatch the crown – and boy did we deliver! Going into the season with a new found confidence (After the nerves of the unknown Div1 had gone, and knowing that Balmain 1st team had moved up into the BBC…), we were the team everyone knew they needed to beat, and we weren’t going to let that happen!

After a very strong grading, we started off the season with 7 new names on the Div1 squad list. As well as welcoming Rangers Legends Anais and Igor back to the team after their season long sabbatical in 2020, we also drafted up Gus from the B’s and Lewis from the D’s after their incredible stand out performances caught our attention. It is rare for players to make it straight into the Rangers first team – however, Bas, Jordan and Dia all made themselves very hard to ignore, were amazing additions to the team and each had a brilliant debut season to remember!

As we roll into the first game of the season, I think Jordan’s debut was easiest to remember of the lot.. 1-1 in the 2nd half against newly promoted Lakemba A, he picks up the ball at the edge of the box and thunders the ball into the top corner to take us into the lead. Not to make things too easy for the team, he then gets a 2nd yellow and sent off for his potty mouth which had us down to 10 men with minutes to spare. Though we were the much stronger team, alongside a superstar player of the match performance from debutant Bas, Lakemba kept the pressure on in the final moments and were able to grind out a 2-2 draw.

Our second game against Leichhardt Saints went in similar fashion, with an unfortunate 3-3 draw against a team that only had 2 shots on target! After his outstanding death drop save at the end of last season, The Beresford Bachelor and Team Captain/Manager, Paul Flynn, donned the gloves this season. Like Jordan, he also didn’t want to make things too easy for us.. A ball that was going safely wide got the best of Paul’s nerves, and instead of using his hands he decided to shin the ball into his own net instead. Highlights of this match go to a brace from Lil Dan, and a battling finish from Lawrence – The Goal-Scoring Duo of the previous season were unsurprisingly back on the score sheets.

Swinging the momentum of results, we went into back to back wins against Earlwood (2-0) + Lakemba B (2-1) to put us up into 2nd place, 2 points behind Leichhardt Saints. Dan bagged himself another Brace to pull away on the top scorers list, with myself and Lawrence slowly trying to keep up (with great goals from outside of the box, leaving the goalie stunned, I must add..).

Our next 2 games were up against our rivals of the recent seasons, Balmain and Mr P – Always a tough battle, and usually always neck and neck on the table going into finals. First up, Balmain, which turned into a very nail biting end-to-end game. Balmain took the lead early on, but shortly afterwards Lawrence was brought down in the box, and I slotted in from the penalty spot to draw us even. Our big Irish threat in the midfield, John Ahern, then took us into the lead after converting it in from a corner – Not long before our recent Baby-Daddy Seb let Balmain back into the game with a spectacular own goal hitting it right into the top corner. Eager to redeem himself, Seb then throws himself at our next set piece delivery into the box and manages to knock it in with his groin to regain the lead, also earning him the new nickname ‘Golden Dick’. With minutes to spare, I look on from the sidelines to the agonising scenes of Balmain drawing level, 3-3.. However, in the final seconds of the game, we were handed a lifeline – Handball in the box, penalty given for the last kick of the game. With the team and the supporters shouting at me to sub myself back on and take the penalty, heart in my mouth I stepped up to the ball and we won the game 4-3, what a relief!

We then faced Mr. P in a midweek clash, under the lights of the fortress, Blick Oval. Another brace from Dan (following in his pattern of 2 goals every other game), and a tenacious goal from Lawrence had us dispatch of Mr. P with relative ease in a 3-1 win. This continued our undefeated season, and took us to the top of the table with 4 points to spare.

Just after we gained Jordan back from his 5 game ban, Aaron then decided it was his turn to see red and face another ban.. In a 1-1 draw against bottom of the league Punchbowl, Aaron puts us into the lead with a great strike only to then get too handsy on the floor with one of their players, with the ref taking both teams down to 10 men to see of the rest of the game. Highlight includes a snapshot save from Paul to keep us in the match – I wish I could say it was a shot from one of the Punchbowl squad, but no.. Gus was desperate to add himself to the scoresheet, and thought scoring in our own net was his best chance at that..

With the team picking up a number of injuries, as well as Aaron’s ban, we went into our 2nd fixture against Lakemba A with only 11 Div1 players – Huge shout outs to Dean + Michael from the C’s after coming straight from their match to help us out. With Paul away this weekend, Igor stepped up to don the gloves, and delivered a cat-like player of the match performance in a 2-2 draw, that certainly would have been a loss without him between the posts

Our final 2 games of the season, before we were so rudely interrupted by COVID, saw us turn around the recent draws with us going 2-0 against Leichhardt Saints, and 3-2 against Earlwood. Highlight of the Leichhardt Saints game had to be from Rob Phillips, Div9 Loanee for the game, coming on with 15 minutes to spare and firing the ball past the goalie from 30 yards out – What a way for him to stamp his mark on his first league appearance for us!

Against Earlwood, Gus finally added himself onto the goals tally list, Dan scored a quick reaction tap in, and I scored a (extremely wind assisted) free kick from inside our own half. Two great wins to wrap up an incredible undefeated season in Division 1, securing us the title 3 points ahead of Balmain.

I’m incredibly proud of everyone in the squad this season, never letting our heads go down and having the motivation to fight back as a unit when the odds seemed against us at times. I can’t wait to do it all over again with you next season, hopefully a season that takes us through to the finals and our hands on the Major Championship Trophy.

Special shout outs go to Aaron + Paul, it really is a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without either of you, all your help and support is greatly appreciated.

Charlie Stowe

AA14C 2021 Season Review

Recently Marvel released their ‘What If?’ TV Series, delving into the scenarios in the Marvel Universe had things panned out a bit differently.

It made me think: ‘What if that limo driver was double vaccinated?’. The answer is, the C’s would be Grand Final winners in 2021. You can’t tell me otherwise.

The season started for us in what would become a familiar pattern, picking up wins but not exactly doing it convincingly… but at the end of the day, getting the points is what matters.

It kicked off with a goal from a spot-kick from player-coach and writer of this summary piece, David Manuca. And no, it was not a dive… Sam Townsend made it 2-0, and we held on for a 2-1 win.

A loss the following week followed, but it proved to be the only loss of our season. Against a team that has not lost a game since at least 2019.

Things picked up with a win and a clean sheet against Burwood, with one of our newest Rangers Jeffy Bravo scoring his first goal for the club.

In the next game we secured our second-biggest win of the season with a 6-0 win over Leichhardt Saints. And even more impressively, there were six different goalscorers!

Our next outing was the long-awaited Sydney Derby! It was everything you’d expect and more, with the C’s coming out on top 5-2 in an absolute thriller.

Due to a postponement, we then played two games within the space of 3 days, picking up four points against Enfield A and Enfield B. We were chugging along nicely.

A 93rd minute penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw against Cooks River, before our biggest win of the season came, with a 7-0 drubbing of Strathfield B. Things were looking up!

The side showed great strength and resilience to battle from behind to secure a 3-3 draw against second-placed Ashfield, and as we moved into the final stages of the season, we were nicely played to secure a Semi Final.

But, that damn limo driver….

I want to thank all my players for what was an incredibly enjoyable 2021. It could have ended with something special, but that just makes me even hungrier for next year. Hope you’re as hungry as well…

David Manuca

AA14D 2021 Season Review

Well hello everyone and thanks for stopping by to my review of the Div14 Ds season. Obviously the season was ended prematurely by COVID, but we played every team once before that happened so I’ve got plenty to get stuck into, much like a Jonah Musitano tackle. 

I entered the season full of positivity after a busy transfer window. While we’d lost a few of our stars from 2020, we’d added some promising newbies, retained our core, and somehow managed to keep and add a bunch of Rangers of very high ability. With James Cardall as manager beside me and Carl Austin as captain (even though he was actually serving a suspension due to a red card at the end of the 2020 season), we were the real life Sam Allardyce, Sammy Lee and Kevin Nolan. 

Dave Cherrie returned between the sticks, with a defence of Matthew, Jonah, Shaun, Steve and James. In the midfield, we welcomed back Luke alongside stalwart Tom D, Sean, Ed, the Lane Cove Iniesta – David Bertran and, for some reason, me. And in our attacking places we were blessed with talent, with Josh, Enrico, Nathan and Dutch Dave. What could possibly go wrong? 

Cut to two minutes into our first game against new team Leichhardt Saints at Blick Oval. Their winger has the ball and there’s no danger at all. He lumps a cross into the box which looks like it’s going to end up in Punchbowl. It drops into the top corner. Oh dear. 

Three minutes later, Dutch Dave sprints down the wing, attempts a Cruyff turn, and ruptures his ACL. Season over. Oh dear. (Dave we love you!)

All I’ll say is thank goodness I was there. For the third season in a row I scored the first goal of the team’s season, starting the fightback and eventually we secured a well deserved 4-1 win to get us off to a cracking start. What. A. Hero. Special shout out to Ed for trying really really hard to miss the final goal despite two open goals before finally slotting it away. 

A couple of routine 2-0 wins against eventual strugglers Cooks River Titans and Strathfield B followed, but there were harder tests to come. Next up, Burwood – a team that had easily beaten us in pre-season. It was a game of two halves. 1-0 up at half time thanks to a poacher’s finish from Nathan, we were pegged back by a second half onslaught. A tactical masterclass saw Josh deployed into central midfield and it was that move that paid off, with an exceptional through ball for Enrico in the final seconds. Rico finished with the confidence he showed all season. A 2-1 win and four wins from four! 

Couple of mentions here. Firstly for Luke. The opposition seemed to confuse his head with the football, landing Luke in hospital. Matthew cracked a rib in the same game and couldn’t sneeze for three months. The injuries were piling up!

Up next, Strathfield C where we ground out a 0-0 draw thanks to an immense backline effort from Shaun, Jonah, Steve and Cardall and a truly spectacular flying save from Cherrie. After that it was back to winning ways against Enfield with another of our customary 2-0 wins. Rico and Nathan on the scoresheet again and they were turning into the modern day Yorke and Cole and a highlight with their right back asking ‘who’s that new Rangers team who are top of the league and flying?’ Spoiler alert, it was us. 

But not for long…

Derby day was up next. Rangers Cs vs Rangers Ds. The one we’d all been waiting for. Blick Grandstand was packed. There were at least 15 spectators. You could cut the tension with a knife and we were all set up for an epic. Unfortunately that’s not how it worked out. We were 4-1 down and a man down after half an hour, with a screamer each from Josh and Enrico being bright spots in an eventual 2-5 loss. 

From there, the floodgates opened with four more losses in a row which we don’t need to go into too much detail about, other than to say that we’ve now lost to Strathfield A by an aggregate of 30-2 in the last two seasons. They probably shouldn’t be in our league, but hey, who’s counting?! 

There were bright sparks in our losses against Ashfield and particularly Enfield A, who we really should have beaten, although Nathan did score an absolute worldie. I still fancied our chances of making finals after finishing fifth as the season split, but thanks to COVID and that damn limo driver, we’ll never know. 

I’d like to end with a couple of thanks. Firstly to the team, for bearing with me in a first season of coaching and putting up with some very average training sessions. Secondly to Josh and Sean for supporting me in those training sessions and running some – they take a lot of planning and it’s much appreciated. To Luke, Matthew and Dutch Dave who showed up every week despite being injured to cheer us on. That’s what it’s all about. Finally to James and Carl for your support throughout as manager and captain respectively. You both did more than you give yourself credit for. 

So all in all, a season that showed a lot of promise that was probably hamstrung a little by injuries. On to the next one! 

Top scorer – Enrico Biviano, Nathan McDonald (5 each)

Chris Hicks

O35 Silvers 2021 Season Review

The 2021 season for the Silvers started with some tough grading decisions but they certainly paid off. Whilst our trial matches left many of us worried that it was going to look like a repeat of 2020’s frequent drubbing it was not to be, instead it was arguably the Silvers best season on record.

In every match, the team pulled together, played hard and often ground out come from behind wins which saw us make it in to the top 6 by the time the draw was split.

Unfortunately COVID-19 intervened in our march to finals football and cruelly cut short our season and grand final glory was not on the cards this year.

What was the reason for the Silvers success in 2021? Pundits have said it was the new coach/manager/captain combination but others it was the overwhelming positive attitude within the team and the desire to have fun and play fair each match. Either way, it leaves a solid foundation for the team as we prepare for 2022 success.

Dean Maybury