Newcastle Eagles went into the current international break on the back of a bad defeat at Leicester last Friday night. However, there was no knee-jerk reaction from Head Coach Ian MacLeod and his coaching staff to alter a schedule that had long been agreed.
As MacLeod explained it was always planned with no game scheduled for a fortnight to give his players, his staff and himself time-off to recharge the batteries and recuperate before launching their run towards the end of the season.
“We knew there was going to be this break in the schedule and we discussed and agreed to give everyone a week off. Nick Schlitzer’s in Italy, Sade Hussein’s in France, Drew Lasker is in Manchester and is not signing for Giants and C.J. Gettys went back to the States.”
“We had to fly C.J. out of the country at some stage for visa purposes and he’s took the opportunity to go back to his US College at Rutgers and get some rehabilitation on his injury. He’ll be back in the country on Saturday.”
“With the GB game against Germany being at our Arena on Monday we can’t train until Tuesday anyway when everyone will be back together. We’ve played 11 games since Christmas due to our Trophy run and Leicester have played six so we were due a break.”
“It’s a good chance to give the players a chance to rest especially with the injuries and niggles we have. C.J. was always expected to be out 7 – 10 days and Drew and Eddie Matthew are borderline on whether they can return next week.”
MacLeod has had a few days to reflect on the loss at Riders and knows it’s something that all concerned at the Eagles need to think hard about.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game; our defence was nowhere near good enough. It’s a good time to reset and refocus. We don’t become a bad team in seven days. The week before the Leicester game we beat the League leaders and won away in a Trophy semi-final first leg.”
“So, the week before Riders we were awesome and then we lose one game and all things turn. It’s the nature of the sport. We have to be more consistent but so does the attitude towards it.
It’s not just the players who can use the rest period to good effect. MacLeod himself has hardly had a break since the huge jump he made into the Head Coach job and feels he can use his time-off well.
“No doubt about it. The rest is for everyone. I don’t have a large coaching staff to spread stuff over so it’s nice to get a break away from the game and spend some time with the family. It’s good for all of us.”
When Newcastle come back to training, they will be preparing to take on Surrey Scorchers in The BBL Championship on Friday 28thFebruary followed by Cheshire Phoenix at home on Sunday 1stin the second leg of the BBL Trophy semi-final.
“I think with Drew, Eddie and C.J. it’ll be a case of assessing them next week and take it on a game by game basis. It isn’t a case of resting for one game to play another. Sometimes it’s good to get a rhythm when you have two games in a weekend so I’m alright with that.”
“Having a week off, a week’s build-up and then having two games that’s a nice little schedule. We’ll be itching to get right back at it. One of the reasons for giving the players a break was to self-reflect and one of the reasons was to rest.”
“It’s a mental reset. There’s little physically we can do its about mentally refocusing and sorting out our mental lapses. If it hadn’t been planned the guys couldn’t have gone where they’ve gone and get the rest in the way they wanted too.”
Tickets for the double-header next weekend are on sale now from the box office: