No easing up for Macc says coach
SITTING 14 points clear at the top of the National League Division Two North table, there’s little doubt The Blues have enjoyed a successful first half of the season.
Relegated from National League Division One last summer, The Blues have run out victorious in 13 of their 16 games so far, scoring a league-high 538 points in the process.
However, reflecting on Macclesfield’s performance and looking towards the second-half of the season, head coach Giles Heagerty is seeking further improvement from his side in their push for promotion in what he sees as an extremely competitive league.
“We just need to continue to do what we’ve been doing and be better at it,” he said.
“We’re constantly looking to evolve and improve and if that means we have to add things to our game plan then so be it.
“All I’m looking for is for the players to challenge themselves to be better week-in, week-out.”
The Blues boss has dismissed the notion of achieving success through drastic change – rather, he wants his side to simply improve on the performances that have propelled them to the top of the league thus far and he’s still striving towards the perfect 80-minute display.
“We’re in a reasonably good place, so why would we want to reinvent the wheel when there’s no need?
“Our decision making has improved since the Sedgley loss (in early December), and I’m looking for that to continue.
“We just have to continue doing what we do well, and learn to do it better and for longer.
“We still haven’t put in a full 80-minute performance yet.
“If it takes us ‘til the last game of the season to get that performance, then I’ll take that, but hopefully we’ll manage it before then.”
Despite Macclesfield cantering to the summit of National League Division Two North, Heagerty asserts the competitiveness of the league leaves no room for his side to relax going into the secondhalf of the campaign.
He said: “There’s no question that the league we are playing in is extremely competitive. The standard of rugby is a little bit different from what we saw two years ago.
“The standards in National One had increased dramatically when we played there last year, and the same thing has happened in National Two. Teams are getting stronger and the challenges are becoming more difficult.
“There’s going to be an awful lot of good rugby played during the course of the second half of the season, and the good rugby won’t only be played by us.
“There will be twists and turns and frequent upsets before the season curtain closes, but that’s what makes this season’s National 2 North competition so entertaining.”
Furthermore, Heagerty believes the high standard Macclesfield have faced since their relegation clearly dispels the stigma that Rugby Union is south-centric.
“One of the things that I’ve found gratifying and most pleasing is that rugby in the North is clearly very strong,” he said.
“There has been lots of press speculation suggesting the opposite, but that speculation is clearly wrong.
“Rugby, particularly in the North West, is in pretty good shape. You only have to look at the number of North West clubs participating in National League 2 to see that.
“There’s some good young talent coming through the ranks and I think many of these youngsters will go on to play at a higher level.”