Io­ni­ans crunch clash for Blues

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

MAC­CLES­FIELD Blues couldn’t live with the power and pace of a strong and re­lent­less Old Al­ba­nian side – and must get it right in Satur­day’s fight for survival at Hull Io­ni­ans.

The Blues looked men­tally worn out in the opin­ion of head coach Giles Hea­gerty, the di­rect re­sult, he be­lieves, of putting in three ex­haust­ing per­for­mances with lit­tle re­ward.

“I think what we saw on Satur­day was the ef­fects of the pro­longed ef­forts we’ve had to put in in the last three games. I have to say we just looked men­tally ex­hausted.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen it this sea­son, and I dare say it won’t be the last. When you string to­gether three good per­for­mances but don’t get the re­sults your ef­forts de­serve, it’s not sur­pris­ing if you come un­stuck in the next game. I think that shows just how much men­tal ef­fort the play­ers have to put in to com­pete at this level.

“Al­though I was dis­ap­pointed by the even­tual re­sult, we none the less showed that we are a match for Old Al­ba­nian.

“Un­for­tu­nately, our er­rors both as a unit and in­di­vid­u­ally cost us; A dropped ball here and a missed tackle there don’t gen­er­ally get pun­ished in Na­tional 2 – but make those mis­takes in Na­tional 1 and you pay the price.

“There were a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions in the first half when we should’ve taken the points but we didn’t and opted to kick for the cor­ner in­stead. We talked at half time about the im­por­tance of mak­ing sure we took any points on of­fer.

“We weren’t lucky with the kick, but I don’t think heads dropped as a re­sult of that. We kept scor­ing af­ter that with one bril­liantly ex­e­cuted first­phase try and we kept push­ing for the los­ing bonus point right up til the fi­nal whis­tle.”

The Blues travel next to Hull to play Io­ni­ans. The game’s can­cel­la­tion in Jan­uary caused a great deal of ran­cour, but as far as Giles is con­cerned that mat­ter has now been put to bed and for­got­ten.

“I think the game will prob­a­bly be the most im­por­tant game of the sea­son to date.

“If we get a win on Satur­day, then we’re back in the hunt. I don’t want to overplay its im­por­tance and sig­nif­i­cance as all the re­main­ing games are im­por­tant, but we need to get some­thing out of this one.

“I’m not ex­pect­ing any­thing dif­fer­ent from Hull this week­end. As I say ev­ery week, they can do what they want, what we

‘I think the game will prob­a­bly be the most im­por­tant of the sea­son’

have to worry about is our­selves.

“I think this week, more than any other week, we have to make sure we are men­tally at the races. As a group and col­lec­tive we’ve been pretty good at that: as in­di­vid­u­als we have some­times let our­selves down. So col­lec­tively and in­di­vid­u­ally this week­end we have to be sharp and fo­cused and we need to get things right when it mat­ters.”

Un­der 7s player Toby Boyd, pic­tured with Blues cap­tain Ryan Parkin­son, was the mas­cot on Satur­day

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