After a delayed and gruelling trip up to the north East last weekend Macclesfield Blues left Crow Trees empty-handed. Most teams would’ve been left dispirited after such a defeat, but despite the result Head Coach, Giles Heagerty is still optimistic that Macclesfield Blues’ future is still very much in their own hands. He believes that if the team can keep focused and can concentrate on their processes, they are still capable of climbing up the league and retaining their National League 1 status. What they need to avoid is distraction. Here’s what Giles had to say to Macclesfield Rugby ahead of the Wharfedale game at Priory Park this coming weekend.
Do you think the results of the next two matches will be defining for Macclesfield Blues?
“Whilst we appreciate the importance of the next two games, I wouldn’t class them as defining, because I think that in a way overstates their overall importance. They are definitely important, but no more important than any other game. Given the relative positions of Wharfedale and Cinderford in National League 1 there is naturally a little more urgency in getting a result, but we’re well aware that there will undoubtedly be other opportunities to pick up points during the second half of the season. So what I’m saying I guess is that it’s important to keep these two fixtures in context. Winning would be preferable, but losing either of these games won’t determine the rest of our season.”
Macclesfield Blues weren’t able to field a full strength side last weekend at Blaydon, are any of the injured players likely to be match fit for the Wharfedale game?
“Both Mike Finnemore and Dave Marwick are unfortunately out until after Christmas, so that’s a blow for us. Chris Jones, however, will be on the bench this weekend which is great news. Chris has worked incredibly hard on his rehab, and it’s a fantastic achievement because we weren’t realistically expecting to have him back until January at the earliest. Josh Fowles is also off playing 7s in Dubai this weekend, so that’s also a loss.”
“So yes we’ll have some bodies missing when we line up against Wharfedale at the weekend. The truth is though I don’t think that having certain players missing had any effect on the result last Saturday: we just had a bad day at the office. That might sound a bit trite, but it’s the only explanation I can put it down to. Yes we had a long trip up to the North East – [much longer in fact than we would’ve liked because the A1 was closed for some time] and inevitably that had an impact. But then we just couldn’t manage to keep hold of the ball. Whether that was because Blaydon put us under pressure, it’s difficult to say. The fact is most of the problems we brought on ourselves by trying to force the play. Little errors were compounded because we knew we had the beating of them out wide, so we tried to get the ball out there too quickly.”
What sort of reaction are you looking for from the players this weekend?
“I don’t think the message really changes: focus on our own game and our processes and don’t get distracted. We definitely did get distracted last weekend by a couple of decisions the officials made, and we allowed ourselves to get bogged down with things that were beyond our control. This weekend we just have to concentrate on what we do well which is focusing on our processes and focusing on our performance. If we can avoid distractions, we’ve already demonstrated that we can play some outstanding rugby. If we can play that sort of outstanding rugby, then I would like to think we’ll get the sort of result this weekend that we’ll deserve.”