No eas­ing up for Macc says coach

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - JOE BA­CON

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.”

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