The players have arrived back at Priory Park for pre-season training ahead of the National League 1 campaign, and they’re raring to go. That’s the opinion of Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. Despite injury niggles and late arrivals everyone is now back in harness and ready to get the show on the road. So how are things going and how are the new boys settling in to life at Macclesfield Blues? Here’s what Giles thinks.
How long have the players been back for pre-season training?
“We started back in the last week of June, so we’ve now been back in training nearly six weeks. We had a staggered return to training to accommodate the players, because some of the lads had been away with Cheshire, and a couple of the lads had been playing with England Counties. We also let a couple of players who picked up injuries at the back end of last season or picked up niggles early on in this season playing 7s join us later. We thought it was best if we gave them longer to recuperate. We’re now almost up to our full complement, and the positive thing is we’ve seen everybody at some stage even if they’re not currently in full training.”
How’s pre-season training going so far?
“It’s going been going very well. It’s easy for me to say it’s going well, but I know we’re doing something right when the players are saying it as well. For me that’s very positive. That’s the true yardstick as far as I’m concerned. It has been hard, granted, and it will continue to be very hard, but we know that we’ll need to mentally and physically resilient for the coming campaign. The players have already responded positively to what we’ve thrown at them, and I’m hoping that by the time of the first pre-season game on the 13 th we’ll be in a pretty good place.”
Are you approaching this pre-season differently, given the scale of the challenge ahead in National 1?
“We are approaching things differently, but I’m not sure whether that has anything to do with our going back up to National 1. We’ve got a 90-game plan, and this pre-season is part of that plan. There are a number of things going on at the elite end of the game that we’ve been able to pick up and use in terms of planning and structure. We’re also using some of these new ideas to challenge the players. All of this means that we have definitely changed the way we’ve done things this pre- season, but as I said before, not necessarily because we’re going back to National 1 rugby.”
Has anything surprised you so far?
“I’m not sure surprised is the right word: impressed is probably more appropriate. What has impressed me is the way that the new players have managed to integrate so quickly. It’s as if they’ve always been there. Normally when you get an influx of new players there’s an understandable transition period, but not this time I’m glad to say. The guys have just come in and they’ve been really professional and just got on with. They’re true Macclesfield Blues’ players, and that’s not only testament to them, it’s also testament to the group of players we have already got in place. Everyone has just rolled up their sleeves, got stuck in and they’re raring to get on with it.”