Ionians crunch clash for Blues
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