RETIRING Kirk Yeaman believes he is leaving Hull FC in a positive place despite their 28-18 Super League semi-final defeat at Wigan Warriors.
The former Great Britain centre had hoped to bow out with a Grand Final win at Old Trafford but was denied by Shaun Wane’s side on Friday night.
Hull fought back from 14-0 down at the break to lead 18-14 in the 62nd minute but their inspired efforts amounted to nothing as Wigan came back strongly to set up a Grand Final with Warrington Wolves this Saturday.
Yeaman, who has played more than 350 games for his home-town club, admitted: “Unfortunately it’s come to an end.
“We didn’t do much in the first half but in the second half we really showed our character and showed what we’re about as a team.
“We shown the character we’ve got and that’s a positive moving forward.”
The 33-year-old did help Hull win the Challenge Cup at Wembley in August and, having also been part of their victorious 2005 side at Cardiff, is the only player in the club’s history to lift it with them twice.
Yeaman, who was part of the last Great Britain side to beat Australia in 2006, said: “It doesn’t get any better for me than winning at Wembley, honestly.
“That was massive, something I wanted to do before I retired and I finally did it in my last year!
“It took me 16 years to do it but it was such a relief and such a highlight.
“It’s unfortunate the way it has ended, it would have been nice to go to Old Trafford but on another night it might have been ours.
“It means everything to have played for Hull – to be part of a club which I’ve given a lot of my life to and who have been great to me.
“Good luck to Wigan but, on a whole, this season has been a success given where we’ve been in the last couple of years.
“The future is certainly bright and the players we’ve got coming in, hopefully it can be the start of something good.”
Hull were long-time leaders but suffered four defeats in their final five games to finish third and now they eventually miss out on challenging for a first title since 1983.
Yeaman, who will join head coach Lee Radford’s backroom team, said: “Mint (Danny Houghton) has been outstanding for us all year.
“The likes of Mark Minichiello, Gaz Ellis and all the old-stagers have really stood up and been counted for the club this season.
“Mahe (Fonua) and Steve (Michaels) have stood out in the backs; they’ve taken their chance with both hands and killed it. The club will build on this and compete with the big teams on a permanent basis.”