The first game of the competitive season may still be over a fortnight away, but Macclesfield Blues have already kicked off their campaign with the first of a series of friendly games. The Blues took on Sedgley Park at Park Lane and came away victorious. Next up is a trip away for the Lions when they travel to Northwich this evening. This will be followed by a Round-Robin of games at Priory Park featuring The Blues, Redingensians, Loughborough and Caldy. The boys are in for 120 minutes of tough rugby, that’s for sure, but Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, wouldn’t have it any other way. He firmly believes the more you challenge yourself; the more you learn. Here’s what Giles had to say.
How are the squad bearing up in pre-season? Are they getting back into the groove?
“I would say so. The boys came off the field last Saturday saying they felt fit, so that’s good. We’re certainly moving in the right direction. We mustn’t read too much into pre-season though, as there’s undoubtedly a different type of mentality during this time. The real acid test comes when we line up against Esher on 3rd September. That’s when we’ll properly see where we are and how far we’ve come.”
How did the friendly game against Sedgley Park go last Saturday?
“It went well, especially when you consider it was our first proper run-out of the season. We won the game 29-15, though in truth I wasn’t too worried about what the score was. In fact, I had to check with the referee just to confirm it. What was important to us is what we got out of the game. The coaching team set certain goals that we wanted the team to achieve, and I’m glad to say they did all that was asked of them. Naturally the players wanted to win, but the important thing was that we improved on the areas we’d been targeting. The satisfying thing is that we managed to do a lot of really good things, and got quite a lot out of the game.”
“Despite the scoreline, I do think it’s important to keep the game in context. Sedgley were without a number of first choice players, and we also blooded a number of new players. Our entire backline, bar one player, didn’t start for Macclesfield Blues last season. We also had a number of new forwards playing too, so that needs to be taken into consideration. Still we’ve now moved on from that and are concentrating our efforts on the bigger challenges that lie ahead in the next few weeks.”
What’s next up for the team?
“We’ve got the Lions playing tonight at Northwich. The squad will predominantly be made up of Lions players, but there will also be a couple of guys who came back to training late getting a run-out. The same thing will happen next Tuesday when we send the Lions squad away to Wilmslow.”
What challenges are you expecting this weekend when the Blues take on Redingensians, Caldy and Loughborough?
“Those games have been designed to be deliberately very challenging. There will be 120 minutes of rugby played against 3 different opponents, and I’m pretty sure it will take players out of their comfort zones both mentally and physically. Hopefully nobody will be asked to play 120 minutes, but we’re not taking a massive squad, so that possibility can’t be ruled out.”
“What I do expect is that the players are going to be pushed, and that’s what pre-season’s all about after all. The opponents are going to be challenging and will be looking to take a scalp, so the games have been designed so that everybody gets something out of them. The most important thing about these games is that at the end of play the boys should have a pretty clear idea where they’re up to with their physical conditioning.”