WAKING UP the morning after a semi-final, knowing you are not going to Wembley, is one of the worst feelings in sport.
At the moment, the mood is pretty gloomy. Saturday was a big game and we have got a good recent history on occasions like that.
We have some experienced players who know what it is all about and we went into the game confident, but it wasn’t our day and we have no complaints about the result.
It takes a while for the fact that we aren’t going to be playing on the big stage and won’t experience the euphoria of a Cup victory to sink in.
In terms of the performance, I thought effort-wise we were good and it was two teams who are evenly matched.
We weren’t far away, but Warrington, particularly in the second half, just got the ascendancy.
That is really important because it gives you the comfort blanket of having a second chance. We can throw everything at that and into finishing as high up the table as possible to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting to Old Trafford.Gareth Ellis
They played the field position really well and even though the conditions were bad, there wasn’t that many mistakes in the game. As soon as they got a hold on the field position it allowed them to kick on the last play and put the ball into really dangerous areas.
They scored a couple of tries on the back of it whereas we were constantly coming out of our own end from deep and most of our kicks were from the 50 or 40 metre line.
It didn’t give us chance to attack those kicks and we couldn’t make them count like Warrington did.
That was probably the difference between the two teams, just the fact Warrington got the better of the field position battle in the second half.
With the conditions being what they were, it didn’t allow a team to chase the game.
We didn’t want to make errors, ultimately we did at some crucial points, but it was always going to be a tough game to chase, given the conditions.
Anyway, that is gone now and there’s nothing we can do about it.
There is still a big prize to play for, though, and we are going to go all out for that.
We don’t have long to lick our wounds because we’ve got an important game on Thursday against Wigan, which has been brought forward from Sunday.
The boys have to get their heads up, that is the challenge for us now. In 2016 and 2017 we were in the Challenge Cup final and you have to deal with that distraction.
Last year up until the Super-8s we were in the top-four and then we dropped off and we had no chance of making the Grand Final. This year we can just focus on Super League and cementing a place in the top-three.
That is really important because it gives you the comfort blanket of having a second chance. We can throw everything at that and into finishing as high up the table as possible to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting to Old Trafford.
Saints and Warrington have Wembley looming and you never know how that will affect them and whether they will slip up here and there, so it is a really good chance for us to push on and throw everything into getting to the Grand Final.
The short turnaround to Thursday is not ideal, but we can put everything into it and see what we are all about.
The format gives anyone who finishes in the five a real chance of going all the way to Old Trafford.
We are well placed at the moment and the higher we can finish the better.
There’s six games left and hopefully we can use the disappointment of not making the final to really focus our energy into the league campaign and being the best we can over the final few weeks of the season.
We don’t have the long, drawn out Super-8s now, it is a case of getting into the five, finishing as high as you can and then beating the best teams to win it.
That’s the challenge, we know what we are facing and we can plan accordingly.
We don’t have to worry about anything else, there’s no distractions, it is all guns blazing and we know when we get our game right we can beat anyone.