There can have been no one more disappointed by the loss to Sedgley Park last Saturday than Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett. The defeat hurt – more so because for the first 40 minutes Macclesfield Blues dominated the game. The Blues may have lost the game, but there’s still a long way to go, and no doubt many more twists and turns to negotiate. The message Geoff has been giving to the players this week is to draw a line under that disappointment and to concentrate on the games that remain – starting at Bromsgrove this weekend. What matters now is remaining focused. Here are Geoff’s thoughts about the upcoming match against Bromsgrove.
Will it be difficult going into the Bromsgrove game after such a set back?
“No I don’t think it’ll be too difficult. Although we were all bitterly disappointed to lose to Sedgley, we know that we played some excellent rugby and we have to take the positives from that. We dominated the game in the first half in terms of field position and possession. You could almost say that we did it too well – the only thing lacking was execution, or we could’ve been out of sight before the second half started. Yes we were massively disappointed, but I stressed to the team it’s that we are still right up there in the mix. What happens from now on is in the hands of the players. What we have to do is remain positive. That’s what I’ll be emphasising in training this week – look at all the good things we managed to do, and take that into the Bromsgrove game.”
How will the Blues be approaching the Bromsgrove match?
“Well, it’s important to put any disappointments behind us. Life goes on, and we have to concentrate on the next 12 games. We’re still second in the league and are only 2 points behind Darlington, so we have to concentrate on winning all of our remaining games, preferably with maximum points. That process begins on Saturday. What I want the boys to do is to get back on the horse and rebuild confidence. If we can take our first half performance against Sedgley into the Bromsgrove game, I’m pretty sure we’ll do well. When we build that sort of forward dynamic we’re difficult to stop.”
What are you expecting from Bromsgrove?
“I prefer to concentrate on our own game rather than worry about the opposition. When we played Bromsgrove at Priory Park we dominated the game. You might not think that when you look at the score – 43 – 34. It sounds like one hell of a game, but the fact is we were just careless. The score line wasn’t an accurate reflection of what happened. We were rampant for much of the game, but switched off when we thought we were home and dry. I suppose you could say it’s Macclesfield Blues’ Achilles heel: when we think we’ve overcome any threat we lose our concentration and focus. Our defending becomes sloppy and we let our game plan slip. The same thing happened recently against Hull. We were dominant for 79 minutes, then gifted them 3 tries in the last couple of minutes making the score line a lot closer than it should’ve been. It’s a characteristic which I wish we didn’t have, but as much as we’ve tried we can’t seem to fix it.”
“Hopefully the loss to Sedgley will give us an edge against Bromsgrove. The boys are hurting and the best way to deal with that hurt is to get back out there and prove a point. We know how to play and I think we’ve shown that we know how to win games. What we have to do on Saturday is get the show back on the road and let all the other teams in the league know that we’re still a force to be reckoned with. If we can get the bite and aggression back into our game I’m pretty confident we can come away from Bromsgrove with the points. All the players are of one mind: what they want to prove to everyone is that it’s business as usual as far as they’re concerned. If we play to our full potential we are a match for anyone.”