“I don’t think I was necessarily disappointed to lose the game, but what did disappoint me was the manner in which we lost.”
After losing at Priory Park to Sedgley Park, hopes were high that Macclesfield Blues could get back to winning ways at Sheffield Tigers. Recent form would have suggested that this should have been a comfortable win for the Blues given the momentum they’ve managed to build over the past few weeks, but Sheffield had other ideas. Sheffield, too, needed to scrap for every point given their league position, and in truth they deserved their win.
The task facing the Blues doesn’t get any easier, as next up at Priory Park are run-away league leaders and local rivals Sale. The Heywood Road outfit have won their last 12 games are flying. Is there any chance of stopping the Sale juggernaut? Well, Interim Head Coach, Marshall Gadd, believes there just might be, but the weather may just have to lend a helping hand this weekend if there’s to be an upset.
How disappointed were you to lose the game against Sheffield Tigers last weekend?
“I don’t think I was necessarily disappointed to lose the game, but what did disappoint me was the manner in which we lost. We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to be in the game, because we just didn’t turn up. Unfortunately, when you’re playing teams in and around you need to keep your focus and work hard because those are the game where you need to pick up points.”
After the game you said that Sheffield Tigers approached the game with a better attitude than Macclesfield Blues and obviously wanted the result more: do you still stand by that?
“Sheffield had just come off the back of a 9 game-game losing streak, and maybe that was the problem for us on the day. Most people would have had us down for a win, given we’ve managed to win a few games lately and were playing with confidence, but I think maybe we were caught a bit cold and were perhaps a little complacent. Sheffield, on the other hand, were really focused, and that’s why I said it looked like they wanted it more than we did.”
So what can you as a coach do to instil that winning mentality?
“It’s tough. As a coach there’s not much more you can do except give the players all the tools they’ll need and instil a sense a confidence in them, but the rest in down to the players on the pitch. The right mindset and mentality comes from playing well and winning. It’s not like we’re at the top of the league and flying: we’re fighting for points and really not where we should be at this stage of the season. So it’s tough. Once the players take to the field the performance is in their hands, and all you can do is hope that the players, especially the senior players, get a grip on the game.”
Is there ever a right or a wrong time to play a team like Sale, given their good form in recent weeks?
“I don’t know about that. When’s the right time to play Sale, and when’s the wrong time to play them? If I’m being perfectly honest I think Sale will win the league, so when we play them doesn’t really matter. They’ve got plenty momentum, plenty of confidence and plenty of strength in depth, so there isn’t a right or wrong time to play them.”
“Having said that, with the way the weather is at the moment and with deteriorating conditions, maybe it is the right time for us now. They’re a good rugby side and have a good defence, but perhaps some of their strengths might be nullified by the conditions. But the bottom line Sale are a really good side, and we’ll have to be at our very best to get something out of the game.”
Given Sale’s form, most people would expect Sale to win the game: does that take the pressure of the Blues?
“Definitely – 100 per cent. I think if you asked most people what the result this weekend was likely to be, I’d bet my bottom dollar that most would say a win for Sale. So that means all the pressure’s on Sale to keep up the momentum and keep winning. It’s a potential banana skin of a game for Sale: whereas for us we can just go out there and play our game and express ourselves. There’s not the same sort of pressure on the team as there is when you’re playing teams like Sheffield and others in the lower half of the table. In those games we’re expected to get something out of the game. In this game those expectations aren’t there.”