Wello’s World: Pride in defeat

Jon Wilkin
Jon Wilkin

I think its fair to say that we are still reeling from our agonising defeat to the Rhino’s.

That, however is not necessarily a bad thing, at St Helens we all strive for and expect success and it’s those high expectations that has given the clubs so many great experiences throughout our proud history.

Over the past nine to 10 days since we suffered our knockout defeat to Leeds I have gone through a whole different range of emotion and I’m sure it’s been very similar for all our supporters.

Initially there is immense disappointment as I genuinely believed we had a huge chance of being successful this season and to lose by such a narrow margin magnified that sense of disappointment.

Then there was a sense of pride of not only how the lads competed in the game, coming from 10-0 down to draw level but also how far we’ve come since midway through the year when form was poor and we were in a very ominous position in the table.

And I suppose my latter emotion is a real sense of optimism for the coming season.

This year we have overcome a lot of adversity throughout the campaign which will only serve to strengthen the players resolve moving forward, we have had a large number of younger players who have gained valuable experience, that coupled with the great players we already have and the quality of the recruits coming in next year makes it an exciting time for us.

For us as a playing group it is important to remember that only our application and determination to succeed will get us to where we want to be. We have fallen just a little bit short for a number of years now and it’s only by very fine margins but that’s all it takes in high intensity Rugby League games.

There is no doubt that our competitors will also seek improvements so those that are currently ahead of us we will need to make up valuable ground as well as keeping other ambitious clubs at bay.

g This weekend all eyes will be on the Grand Final when Warrington will take on a Wigan at Old Trafford.

To be honest those two teams have in no doubt been the two most consistent performers over the past three to four seasons and its surprising that it has taken this long for them to meet in a major final.

I’m certain it will be a fantastic game and like most matches it’ll be won up front in the battle of the big men.

Both Warrington and Wigan have very strong forward packs and the opening exchanges will be very intriguing.

That battle will determine whether either Matty Smith or Lee Briers are able to dictate the game, unfortunately they are the only two St Helens born lads taking part in this years showpiece but both possess fantastic kicking games that could have a huge impact on the outcome.

Those guys will be able to bring the exciting three quarters into the game.

Josh Charnley has been a prolific try scorer for Wigan and they obviously have great quality at full back in Sam Tomkins but on the flip side Warrington have Joel Monaghan who like Charnley has a great try record and Stefan Ratchford has been outstanding since switching to full back.

There are key battles all over the field but like in all big games it’s about performing on the day, I know from experience that’s its a great place to be a winner but terrible to be on the losing side, a seasons work boils down to 80 minutes.

g Finally I would like to thank everyone for their continued support throughout the course of the year.

This is a great club and we’ve had great players but what makes this club special is the people that turn up to support us in good times and bad.

We are very lucky as a group of players that we can perform in front of passionate support on a weekly basis and it’s not a luxury that every club has.

We can all look forward to a better 2014 and we hope its a year in which we can reward your loyal support with some silverware.

All the best - Wello