This is your captain speaking
Every sporting team needs a leader – someone on the pitch who inspires and leads by word of mouth or example. In an ideal world you’d probably want both. That’s why Macclesfield Rugby is fortunate to have a player like stand off, Ross Winney. In the coming months, Macclesfield Rugby will catch up with all the leading players in the squad and bring you updated profiles. Who better to start with than captain and long-standing Blues servant, Ross Winney?
What sort of changes have you seen in your time at Priory Park?
“The structure of the Club is pretty much the same as when I joined about 7 years ago with Billy and Bev Roberts in the front office organising everything as usual. The playing structure’s still the same, with 3 good teams and a superb Mini and Junior section. I guess the greatest changes have come since Geoff and Andy joined us, and the biggest difference they’ve brought with them is the level of professionalism. “
“They’ve increased the levels of expectation for both the players and the supporters and have introduced this new attitude that it’s no longer acceptable to be late for training and not give your best all the time. Obviously, they recognise that people have to work, so they do make allowances, but they still expect us to act and perform in the most professional manner. Everything is now fully structured and measured: you could say our levels of professionalism have gone up by about 100 percent in the last couple of years and the results prove this new attitude’s working well.”
Do you find it difficult juggling work and Rugby?
“Fitting work around rugby can be a little bit tricky sometimes, but for me I’m lucky in that I can manage to do both. My employer, Depuy Johnson & Johnson, is pretty understanding and recognises that I’ve got these outside interests. They appreciate some of the commercial interests that come with rugby and how rugby and business can work together for everyone’s mutual benefit. So I guess it works fairly well.”
What are the Blues goals for this season?
“We’ve got to build on last season’s forth place and move on from there. What we have to do is improve year on year, and that’s the message we’re getting at the Club from Geoff and Andy. Obviously you’d have to say that a top 3 finish has got to be our ultimate aim. What we’ve got to do is start by making Priory Park a fortress, so that other teams don’t like coming here. What we need then is to make sure we set our standard to be 4 points at a minimum for all our home games. If you win all your home games it takes the pressure off when you play away. You then often find that you play better. So two goals then: a top 3 finish and win all our home games.”
What about your personal goals for the season?
“As far as personal goals go, that’s more difficult because it’s the team performance that really matters. However, I suppose what I would like to achieve is to get a higher and more consistent average for my kicking game. My best so far has been 81% which was 2 years ago. So it would be great to beat that, but I can’t help thinking I’ve set myself a pretty tough target there! I wouldn’t mind breaking the record for national league points in a season too, but that might be even tougher. The best I can hope to do for the team as captain is to lead by example on the pitch, and with the squad we’ve now got, that shouldn’t be too hard.”