21st March 2017

Being a Head Coach is never easy, particularly if things aren’t going your way. Macclesfield Blues’ Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, knows that only too well. A season that had promised so much, has sadly failed to live up to expectations, and now the Blues are facing the real prospect of relegation from National League 1.

However, there’s no point dwelling on past mistakes nor missed opportunities: what’s done is done. What’s important is the future, particularly the immediate future. The Blues have still got 5 more games to complete before the season ends. So this week we set Giles a different challenge. Rather than ask him about the next game, we thought we’d ask him what 4 things he’d like the Blues to do in the remaining fixtures of this year’s campaign? Here’s what he had to say.

“It’s a very good question on a number of levels, and it’s been a useful exercise for me thinking this through. It’s been a challenge coming up with answers to the question, but it’s been worthwhile because it makes you prioritise your thought-processes. Having said that, you need to be careful setting specific targets because if you set goals that are very clear and precise, you can often be disappointed if things don’t work out; and I certainly don’t want the season to finish in any more of a disappointing fashion than it has already. That being said, here are my thoughts:”

“Firstly, I think it’s important that we finish the rest of the season unbeaten at home. That’s a major goal as far as I’m concerned and I think it’s important we end the season with victories against Blackheath, Plymouth and Esher at Priory Park and give the home crowd something to cheer about.”

“Secondly, so far this season we’ve allowed the majority of visiting teams to score a try scoring bonus point against us: that is something I’d like to put an end to. We know we are more than capable of scoring tries, but what we need to be better at is stopping the opposition from scoring. It will be a challenge for us over the next few games, particularly given the calibre of opposition we will face.”

“Thirdly, I’d like to see some of our younger and less experienced players make more of a mark. I think it’s important for them and for the team that they show more leadership and more responsibility. I’m not saying we’re lacking in that regard as we’ve got a good captain in Ryan, but I think it’s important that some of the younger and less experienced players find their voices and start to use them. The same applies to both players younger in age and players who haven’t been with the Club for long.”

“Fourthly, I’d like to see us playing with a greater degree of freedom, although in fairness that’s as much down to us as coaches as it is to players on the field. If I’m being honest, the chances of us getting to 35 points and staying up might not be impossible, but it’s a significant challenge and that’s why it’s not on my top 4 list. However, with the pressure being off a little we can afford to go out and be more relaxed and play with a little more freedom.”

“The perfect example of that is last season when we knew we’d already won the league and then went on to play some of our best rugby. That happened because there was no longer any pressure to win. I’m not saying that we’re not under pressure to win because we are, but we have to be more relaxed and enjoy playing rugby more, and as coaches it’s our job to push that message across to the players. We’ll certainly still make demands of players; buy maybe it’s time we changed the way we make those demands.”