Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane reckons the Grand Final loss will only make the team more determined to go one better next year.
McShane, unlucky not to be selected by England for their World Cup squad after an outstanding season with the Tigers, admitted it was tough to take losing to his former team at Old Trafford and the team can use the pain to their advantage in 2018.
He said: “We’ve lost one now and we’re even more determined to win one.
“We didn’t really give ourselves a chance, but Leeds played the game well. They had a good game plan and they stuck to that, they worked hard for each other and they deserved it.”
McShane refused to blame players’ nerves on the big occasion for the defeat.
He said: “I don’t think nerves cause you to drop a ball in contact.
“I just don’t think we looked after the ball well enough. There were too many easy turnovers and Leeds punished us.”
The Tigers man also said the disruption caused by Zak Hardaker being taken out of the team just two days before the final could be no excuse either.
He insisted: “We had a decent turnaround and a really good week’s training.
“We trained in the same conditions the game was played in, but we just didn’t play well enough.
“We had 17 out there and you can’t point fingers at people not in the 17. We trained all week with that team. I don’t think that’s to blame.
“We didn’t complete our sets and Leeds kicked us to death. They were more determined, they were smarter with the ball, they got to the end of their sets and they built pressure. In these big games and these conditions it really works.”
McShane backed the decision not to go for goal in the fourth minute when Cas were awarded a kickable penalty and could have taken the chance to take the lead.
He added: “It was early in the game. It is all right saying we should have done it, but you never know. That two points wouldn’t have done anything in the game, I don’t think it would have changed anything.”