Well, at last Macclesfield Blues have got their first win in National League 2. Rather fittingly it came at Priory Park too in front of a large crowd. Perhaps the supporters might have preferred a more emphatic score, but a win’s a win after all. Were the Blues guilty of not turning what seemed like a dominant performance into points? Well, not in the opinion of Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. After reviewing video analysis of the game Giles feels that the result was a fair one overall. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby this week.
Did you feel the score adequately reflected the possession?
“A win is a win, and we’re pleased we’ve finally got a victory. As far as performance goes, I think Mike Finnemore put it best by saying we’ve got the monkey off our back and that’s what’s important. I think he’s right. Somebody told me that it had been 520 days since our last home win, so that’s why it was important to win. Losing can become a habit if it happens too frequently: hopefully winning can become a habit too.”
“As far as possession is concerned and turning possession onto points, now that I’ve seen the data I’m looking at the performance differently. We actually had less than 50 per cent of the possession, so when you look at it in those terms we did very well. On top of that we were only actually in possession of the ball for 14 minutes. The whole game itself only last 35 minutes which is terrifying when you think about it, but what that means is that means that for 20 minutes we were defending. I think that puts some context on the result. Besides Caldy are a good side and they pushed us all the way. Perhaps we made it a little bit easy for them at times with some individual errors and far too many missed tackles. But I’m just glad we showed so much character. When you look at the overall performance in context, you have to think to yourself – you know what? Saturday was really good in the circumstances.”
How much value to you place on data analysis?
“I think you’ve got to use them appropriately. I think there’s always a danger of getting overawed by statistics. I’ve worked with analysts in the past who’ve tried to let the statistics lead the team, and that’s dangerous. What we do is to try to use the statistics to support what we are doing. Ultimately the decisions we make in terms of team selection and game plans are down to the leadership team, but it’s nice to have evidence to back it up. There are certain things we expect of players and we can monitor that with the data we look at. I suppose it helps to improve overall performance and helps us set clear targets for both the team and individuals.”
What have you made of Preston Grasshoppers so far this season?
“Their record is the same as ours in that they’ve won one and lost one, but that doesn’t really paint an accurate picture. I’ve read in the papers that Preston really dominated Sale for the majority of the game, but then you talk to people who were involved with Sale and they tell you that they were on top, but just couldn’t finish. So it’s hard to get any clear idea. What we do know is that Preston are a good side and they’ve been in National 2 for a long time. They’ve got some very good players within their squad and they’ve also got some extremely good players who’ve gone back to them: Sean Taylor for example.”
“However, we’re in a fairly unique position in that Matt Colleridge has worked with them in the past so he knows them well. I’m not saying he’s given us the inside scoop, but he’s certainly been able to help us identify some of the dangers we might face at the weekend. As always though, we don’t intend to spend too much time worrying about the opposition. Our focus is on us. We’ll be concentrating on our own game and aiming to get better with each performance. We’ve been working on two or three things this week which will hopefully improve our performance this week.”