The Blues may have taken their winning run to 9 from 9 last Saturday against Huddersfield, but the victory was tight and hard fought. Macclesfield Blues only managed to secure the crucial bonus point try with practically the last kick of the game. Next up is second place Sedgley Park. Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, knows this game is likely to be a far tougher prospect. Sedgley Park are flying high, and their record at Park Lane is second only to the Macclesfield, so the Giles knows they are in for a tough and physically challenging game.
Is it correct that if Macclesfield beat Sedgley at the weekend and Sedgley fail to gain a bonus point, then the Blues have won the league?
“I think mathematically we would still need another win to secure the title, but if we were to win you have to say it would then be very difficult for Sedgley to catch us. But any sort of speculation about that is distracting from our perspective: our sole concern is to concentrate on our own game and try to get a victory.”
Given the result at Priory Park the last time the teams met in December, you must surely be expecting a really tough physical encounter?
“Sedgley Park are a very good team. You simply don’t get to second in the league if you’re not. When we last played them I have to honest and say that we didn’t have the greatest of second halves, and they took full advantage of that.”
“Early on in the season I think many of us realised that the title would probably be decided by this game. Sedgley have then got better and better as the season has progressed. That, combined with the rivalry between the two Clubs – positive rivalry I should add, has set this game up nicely. From our point of view what we need to do is keep things in perspective. Yes, it’s a big game; but towards the tail end of the campaign you could truthfully say that every week is a big game.”
“Once you start to make predictions and imagine scenarios about what might happen if you win or lose a particular game, you’re in danger of losing focus. The upshot of that is that you’re then in danger of having a little wobble. We just have to knuckle down and focus of doing what we do best, particularly as we haven’t really been at our best against Otley or Huddersfield. So we need to be switched on because Sedgley pose a different and much bigger threat than other teams.”
What sort of threats do Sedgley pose?
“We know that Sedgley have got some very big ball carriers. Danny Waddy at 12 was an absolute wrecking ball against us last time we played. Matt Riley is also a good player and a major threat. We just need to be able to deal with and neutralise those two. They’ve also got real pace in their back 3, particularly with Jamie Harrison. I’m not sure whether Jamie will be playing as he took a bit of a knock last weekend, but I really hope he does. If we really want to judge how far we’ve come and how good we are, you really want them to be able to put their best side out. That, after all, is what the game’s all about.”
How is the team faring in relation to injuries and absences?
“As far as injuries are concerned, we’re doing OK. However, we’re missing a couple of players through work commitments. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the nature of the game in part-time rugby. Still, it is what it is, and we’ll just have to manage. We’ll bring in other players in their place and give them the opportunity to stake their claim.”