Most coaches would be happy to have started the season with a record of 6 wins out of 7, but Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, is not most coaches. He believes that a team should always seek to improve week-on-week and get better with every game. So despite the bonus point win against Otley at Priory Park at the weekend, Giles’ disappointment is understandable. His major concern was that Macclesfield Blues weren’t able to convert more of the many scoring opportunities they created. In the end it didn’t matter as the Blues were able to secure the win and the bonus point: but come the day when the Blues play the top teams in the league, the failure to convert chances may prove to be more costly.
How do you judge last weekend’s performance? Were you disappointed with the way the game played out, or was your disappointment more centred on the fact that the team were not able to convert more of the chances they created?
“I think any disappointment I may have expressed related more to what happened during the game on Saturday. Otley, it has to be said, are probably the best side we’ve played – certainly defensively. They were very, very strong indeed, but having said that we created a number of opportunities that we failed to take. Now that was what was disappointing. We are improving – of that there’s no doubt, but we still need to do more.”
“We had to come from behind again, and that isn’t ideal. But as much as one may not want to come from behind, we’ve shown considerable character is overcoming these difficulties two weeks in a row now. We’ve also shown that the team has rugby intelligence, and that has allowed us to get ourselves out of a couple of trick situations; albeit those situations are of our own making.”
“The good thing is our level of understanding of the tools we have in our toolbox as a group is clearly improving week-on-week. Where we need further improvement is in our decision making, particularly in attack. That will allow us to put more points on the board and put the game beyond the opposition when it really matters.”
What more do you want from the team: more consistency or more clinical finishing?
“I think the simple answer to that is both. We’re very good at creating all manner of opportunities during a game, but what we need to do better is to convert opportunity into success: success being scoring tries. Last Saturday we left too many scores out on the field. I know that and the players know that, and we know we need to deal with that problem. Now it might seem strange to be critical when we’ve won 6 games out of 7 and got a bonus point in each game bar the first one at Broadstreet, but I think I think my criticism is a necessary evil. We need to be better because when it comes to the crunch in the difficult games you might only get one or two opportunities to score, and we need to be able to take those when they come.”
What do you know about Luctonians?
“We don’t know much about them to be honest. They’ve obviously had a difficult start to the season, but they’re a club that have been in National League 2 for some time, and they’re a club with a lot of history behind them. Mortimer Park is a nice place to go; they’ve got a good playing track, and they’ve got some great people involved there and they’re playing at home. So that really tells you all you need to know I think.”
“As I say consistently any team in this league is capable of beating other teams on their day, so if we don’t give Luctonians the respect they deserve, we could come unstuck. We’ve already made that mistake against Broadstreet. I’m pretty certain we lost that game principally because we didn’t give them the respect they deserved. That’s not a mistake we’re going to make again. We have to go down to Herefordshire with the right mindset. Our away form has been a bit streaky, so we need to take extra care and approach the game with the proper respect that Luctonians and the game deserves.”