After a week’s rest and recuperation, Macclesfield Blues return to action once again when they take on Blaydon at Priory Park on Saturday. When the teams met earlier this season the Blues failed to register on the score sheet. Since that time the Blues have been steadily building momentum, and Head Coach, Giles Heagerty believes the team’s performances have improved week on week. With only 4 games remaining what is Giles looking for in his team? What targets has he set the players? Will the team be playing for pride, or is he looking to build momentum? Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby earlier this week.
What targets have you set for the final 4 games?
“I think we would certainly like 4 wins. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. We’ve already had a short break, and can look forward to a much longer 8 week break at the end of the season, so what I’d like the team to do now is push on during the run-in. So in the final games I’d like the team to really go for it. We want to keep on building momentum, starting that this weekend. There’s no reason why we can’t do that. Yes we have got a couple of injuries and one player unavailable due to international commitments, but other than that we’ve got a relatively full deck.”
Would you say to some degree that the team are now playing for pride?
“Well, I’m not so sure I’d say that. It it would be nice to finish on a high. There’s no doubt that our performances have improved. You only have to look at how we’re playing now compared to how we were playing at the start of the season to see that they are worlds apart. Playing for pride? I’m not sure I like that turn of phrase. I think you’ve got to go out and you’ve got to give your best every week, whether that’s playing for pride or not.”
“Vince Lombardi once said it’s not about winning every week: it’s about wanting to win. And I think if everybody wants to win and keeps striving for victory, then there’s no doubt in my mind that we will pick those wins up. Forget pride, just concentrate on what you want and go out and do whatever it takes to achieve that. I’m not saying for one moment that we haven’t done that throughout the course of the season, but I think the mind is now focused and we want to finish the season well.”
So would you say the last 4 games are all about building and maintaining momentum not just for this season, but also next?
“Yes – absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no doubt that our performances have improved dramatically over the months. I think a lot of that can be put down to players getting more used to the style of rugby they’re being asked to play. As a result of that I think we’re already two steps ahead. We won’t therefore be making many changes in the off-season. We might just add and tweak one or two things, but we’ll be able to build from this because we’ve already got good foundations in place. We’ve been planning for next season and looking at what we need in terms of personnel since Christmas. We’ll have a full and frank review at season’s end, and I’m sure we might make one or two changes, but we’re already clear about where we want to go next season and how we’re going to achieve that.”
What are you expecting from Blaydon?
“Well, we’re expecting a tough match. We discovered when we played up there that they’re very well-drilled in terms of their set piece. Mickey Ward’s done a fantastic job in terms of their scrummage. They’ve also got a very good driving maul, and they’ve recently started to get their backs more into the game. So we know we’re going to face a real challenge. Every game in National League 1 is tough. We know where Blaydon’s strengths lie, and we know what we have to do to neutralise those threats. If we can also concentrate on getting our game right and our processes in place, I’m confident we can get the right result.”