WARRNAMBOOL Rangers’ Jones Oval headquarters will remain a hive of activity for the next three weeks.
The Rangers have four of their five sides playing in Ballarat and District Soccer Association finals, which begin this weekend.
The seniors, reserves and under 15s will play in first-versus-second qualifying finals against Ballarat tomorrow and can secure a grand final berth with victory.
The senior women face a must-win elimination final against North White today — the same side they drew 3-3 with last weekend.
Rangers president John Berg said having four teams in finals was a good achievement.
Only a young under 13s side still finding its way in the sport missed out on post-season action.
“It’s been a great year,” Berg said.
The seniors won the championship last season and have maintained their status as a competition frontrunner, despite a new-look and notably younger list.
But the rise of the reserves, a side which features half a dozen still-eligible under 17s, has been one of the stories of the season.
“The main concern at the start of the season was we weren’t sure if we were going to have an under 17 team,” Berg said.
“We had such a good year last year with the 17s but the way it panned out we didn’t have enough numbers for a squad.
‘‘There’s how the reserves eventuated.
“It’s been a great year for them, a bit of a learning curve. They’re playing up against guys with bigger bodies and have really stood up to the plate.”
The Jim Gray-coached women’s side has also surprised, playing with a squad of just 14.
It was in the top-two most of the season but dropped to third late in the campaign.
“We’re hoping the girls can hit their straps this weekend and win the elimination final,” Berg said.
“We’ve never had a big squad of girls. Jim was saying he’s got 14 so it’s very touch-and-go, you can’t afford to have too many injuries or absentees.
“For that number they’ve done exceptionally well.
‘‘They’ve got some fairly young girls in there as well.”
The under 15s are the Rangers’ best chance for a flag.
Coach Phil Burns has steered the teenagers to an unbeaten and dominant season, scoring 159 goals and conceding 11 along the journey.
“Phil has had them for quite a number of years and he’s brought them through beautifully,” Berg said. “They’ve been giving some teams a real hiding this year and they were on the receiving end two or three years ago. It’s turned full circle.”