Back in August it would have been difficult to predict how Macclesfield Blues would adapt to playing back in National League 1. Obviously there was great excitement and anticipation at the Club, following on from the team’s success in winning the National League 2 north title: but it would also be fair to say that there was also a certain degree of trepidation, as no one really knew whether the team had the ability to compete at this higher level. What no one would have foreseen is just how difficult the transition proved to be: 16 games played, and only 1 victory to boast about. But given such poor results, is the fate of Macclesfield Blues’ season already sealed? Is the team destined for National League 2 North rugby once more next season? Well, not necessarily in the opinion of Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. The fate of the Blues is firmly in their own hands, and everything is still to play for. Here are Giles’ thoughts about the games played and the games that are yet to come.
Now the Blues have had the opportunity to play every side in the league where do you think the team stands comparatively? Is the team’s fate already sealed, or is there still hope?
“I think we obviously face a challenge, but I don’t see that challenge as unsurmountable by any stretch of the imagination. I actually think if we can string around 8 or 9 wins together in the second term of the season, then we’ll be in a pretty good place. Having looked closely at all the sides we’ve played so far this season I know we’re more than capable of beating at least 8 or 9 of them in the return fixtures.”
“There are certain sides where we’ll obviously struggle to get a result – I’m thinking of teams like Ealing, and we’ve also got to undertake a couple of tricky trips to places like Rosslyn Park and Fylde; but I actually think that now we’ve got the first term out of the way and now the players have got used to playing the style of rugby I want from them, I believe we’ll have a strong second half of a season.”
Will your focus or tactics change during the second half of the season?
“No. I think what we need to do is stick with the same approach. What we just need to do is get better at doing it. We need more consistency, and we’ll be looking to address some of the issues that have come up in the first half of the season, but overall the game plan isn’t going to change. We’ve already shown that at times we can play some absolutely fantastic rugby, but unfortunately we’ve just been on the wrong end of some results.”
“What is going to change over the second half of the season is that we’ll be getting some of our established and experienced players back. It’s just a shame that the Fylde game came a little too early for Mike Finnemore. Dave Marwick should also be back for the first game after Christmas. We’ve also got a couple of new signings we’re hoping to bring in too. Adding strength and experience back into the squad should make life a little easier after the New Year. Obviously we know we’re going to pick up bumps and scrapes before the end of the season, but being able to go into the New Year with a full deck of cards will I think leave us in pretty good shape.”