On another wet, soggy day Macclesfield Blues visited Sedgley Park for a local derby. Despite some strong play from Macclesfield, Sedgley ran out winners 35-15. Giles gives us his views of the game and the key areas of Macclesfield’s performance he is looking to improve.
It’s never fun to lose to local rivals, how do you feel about the game now we are a few days on?
“My views haven’t changed. We were naïve in the game. It’s the best way to describe it. It took us 65 minutes to get the level of enthusiasm we wanted. As a result of that, we invited too much pressure onto ourselves in terms of attack and turning the ball over too softly.
“For some of that, you’ve got to give credit to Sedgley. They were physical and up for it, and they out-enthused us in the first half. It cost us, as it left us with far too much to do.
“It is a local derby, and we recognised that, which is why we were disappointed with the loss, but our supporters were fantastic and we want to bounce back for them and for ourselves.”
Were there any key moments where you felt the game was taken away from you?
“There were some defensive moments where we let Sedgley in. Giving away penalties at the break down just relieves any pressure that we’ve built up. From there, momentum is lost, and it takes a lot to build that back up again.
“I’ve picked out two key moments with the guys that I think were the major factors to us getting behind the pace. Firstly, in the very first play of the game, we had the opportunity to charge down the kick and follow up on both sides of the ruck. We went up on one side, but not the other. Which gave them the opportunity to clear. So, we went from a good attacking position to being just outside our own 22 in one kick. Then at halftime we made a technical adjusted, but straight away kicked poorly, and gave Sedgley the opportunity to score from the resulting scrum.
“It’s just two key moments, but they influence the rest of the game. Momentum is lost and we need to fight to get back into it again.”
Do you think that loss of momentum is being carried from other games?
“Not at all. I don’t believe we are losing momentum in a long term sense. Each game has been a different loss. The game against Huddersfield, there was one key moment that took it away. Leicester, the red card. Saturday, I’ve mentioned.
“It’s those key moments that turn the game. They are all unique to the context of the match. But we have to make sure that we avoid repetition of them. We know we have the ability, we just have to get a little bit more swagger back in our step and let our rugby do the talking.”
You sound confident that Macc can bounce back quickly.
“Absolutely! There are no alarm bells going off just because we’ve lost some games. No one said we were going to go unbeaten. These are great teams we are playing and it’s a competitive league. We just need to do the work hard to make sure those key moments go our way, then we will start seeing the results I think our guys deserve.”
There’s a number of high profile injuries in the squad at the moment, it can’t be easy dealing with the loss of key players?
We have a high quality playing squad. Yes, we are missing some of our experienced players, and guys who have the ability to control games, but the guys who have come in are high quality too.
“Liam Parfitt was outstanding yet again, he’s just been exceptional over the last few weeks. Brendan Berry, too, had a great game.
“You could argue that experienced players help turn those key moments our way, but we have quality in depth and it’s up to guys out there on the field to make it happen.”
Sheffield Tigers are visiting Macc this weekend. Any special preparation?
“We had an excellent training session and video session this week. Our physicality is improving and we have the capability to do better. Also, our ability to maintain possession is an area of genuine improvement, and we are happy with that. We want to turn that into maintained pressure now.
“I do believe we are getting better, but it’s key for the players to get direct transfer from the training field into Saturdays. We have limited time with players, but our focus is to deliver what we do in practice straight onto the field this week.”
Any word for the supporters ahead of the game?
“It goes without saying that we love people coming down to watch us at our home ground, and are always grateful for the support we have. All I ask is that the supporters stick with us, both on and off the field. Get behind the team and don’t worry about the end of the season at this stage.
“The landscape of Macc Rugby has changed so much in the last few years, and our context has changed too. We are in a different position to where we were two years ago. We’re looking to keep improving and take care of business this weekend.”
Get behind the Blues this weekend at home against Sheffield Tigers, kick off 3pm .