Josh Bourke returns to Warrnambool Rangers after two-year stint in United Kingdom

LEADER: Warrnambool Rangers co-captain Liam Priestley was happy with their persistence against Ballarat Red on Sunday. They won 2-0. Picture: Rob Gunstone
LEADER: Warrnambool Rangers co-captain Liam Priestley was happy with their persistence against Ballarat Red on Sunday. They won 2-0. Picture: Rob Gunstone

A FORMER Warrnambool Ranger is expected to play a role in their run to the Ballarat and District Soccer Association finals after returning from the United Kingdom.

Wingman Josh Bourke slotted into the Cameron Pyke-coached line-up in its 2-0 win over Ballarat Red on Sunday.

Rangers co-captain Liam Priestley said Bourke spent two years in England and had recently returned home to Australia.

“He was very impressive and got an assist with our first goal,” he said.

“Isaac Slater always performs well and Tom Cowling too.”

Warrnambool hit the scoreboard in the opening half through a Rob Andrews’ header.

Slater scored their second goal after half-time.

Priestley rated the Rangers’ performance solid.

“We had to change our formations in the middle of the match just because of the way the other team was setting up,” he said.

“They were on top of us a bit. We struggled to begin with (after making the changes) but we found our feet.

“Instead of running three at the back we changed to four, played two wings and one guy up front.”

Josh Bourke was yellow carded in late in the second half for a rough tackle in an incident Priestley labelled “heat of the moment”.

Ballarat player Dylan Thurgood was also sent off the field during the clash in Ballarat.

Warrnambool, which has seven wins, one draw and two losses from its first 10 matches, sits third on the men’s division one ladder.

The Rangers host fourth-ranked Buninyong at Jones Oval on Sunday.

“It’ll be a tough game but I believe we can win,” Priestley said.

Warrnambool Rangers consolidated their spot in the women’s top four after downing Ballarat North United 4-2 on Sunday.

Isobel Stewart slotted the Rangers’ first two goals.

Shkara Rantall (86th minute) and Emily Whelan (89th minute) also converted late.

The Rangers, who sit second on the table, play top-placed Sebastopol Vikings at home on Sunday in a high-stakes match for both sides.