WE have all now had the best part of 10 days to digest the immense disappointment of another Grand Final defeat.
This loss in particular I have found pretty hard to take.
I look back 12 months to when we were beaten by Wigan, and we simply didn’t play well enough to pick up the Super League trophy.
But I don’t think that was the case this year.
Going into the game we were extremely focused and confident we would get the performance and result we craved so much.
The injuries to Michael Shenton and I certainly disrupted the balance of the side.
Shenny in particular was having a fantastic game, and his defensive efforts were superb, but it just wasn’t to be.
It is important I congratulate Leeds on a great performance. A lot has been made in recent years over the Saints-Leeds rivalry, but I think a little too much at times.
When we wear our club colours, there is a will to win which anyone should expect from professional sport. But, personally speaking, I have always got on very well with their players, especially those I have played with at international level.
One of the questions I have been asking myself since the game is whether the season can be considered a success?
There are so many positives that we can take from the year. The way how our younger players have developed and taken leading roles within the team environment has been pleasing too watch.
How we have dealt with the adversity of injuries to key players has been admirable, and also not having a permanent home has certainly strengthened the resolve amongst players and supporters, and given us real sense of optimism for the future.
Despite these positives, as a professional sportsman, I can’t consider 2011 a success. I’ve certainly enjoyed the year and having the opportunity to captain my hometown club has been awesome, but, for us success is measured by silverware, and it was our goal at the start of the season, and again we have come up that little bit short.
This may seem a harsh assessment, but I believe that when you have the opportunity to represent this club, you have a responsibility to maintain the core values that continue to make it a fantastic place to be, and that means silverware.
As a team we are never going to win all the time, but we should never stop trying.
When I joined the team as an 18-year-old, I immediately sensed the determination to win, it was evident the first day I walked into the dressing room, and it is still there today.
We should all continue to expect success, as it is these expectations which will drive us forward and keep us honest.