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Warrington Wolves should relish the chance to get revenge on Catalan Dragons, says Monaghan
TONY Smith and Joel Monaghan believe Warrington Wolves should be ‘grateful’ for the chance to return to Catalan Dragons and rescue some professional pride.
Next weekend, Wolves will head back to Perpignan for the BBC televised Challenge Cup quarter final clash with Trent Robinson’s Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus, the stadium in which they suffered a humbling 44-16 defeat on April 9 following a performance that winger Monaghan described as ‘embarrassing’.
Many could be forgiven for thinking that returning to the scene of Wolves’ heaviest defeat for three years on Sunday, May 13, kick off 3pm, would be something of a sore spot, but instead Wolves plan to use the trip to exorcise the demons of that fateful Easter weekend.
“Collectively we were far from at our best in that match and we were thoroughly embarrassed,” said Monaghan, the hat-trick hero in Wolves’ fifth-round defeat of Bradford Bulls on Saturday.
“But at the same time that loss was not something to get hung up on. It is a motivation for us.
“In footy you usually have to wait a year to go back to the same place and try to fix the things that went wrong last time – to rescue some of that professional pride.
“We get to do that straight away.”
That sentiment was repeated by Smith, who hopes that all his players will be grateful for the opportunity to exact their revenge upon the French outfit.
“This match is something that we are grateful for, it is an opportunity to right the wrongs,” he said.
“That defeat is fresh in our minds, but we were not at our best that day and I would hope that the result and that performance acts as a great motivator.”
There is an argument that Dragons will be treating the tie likewise, remembering all too keenly the 54-12 defeat suffered in the semi final at the Stobart Stadium in 2010 – the only previous time the two sides have met in the historic knockout competition.
But time heals all wounds and while Dragons may still feel the scars from that defeat, Wolves’ bruises are much the fresher of the two.
For Monaghan though, it is not simply a case of restoring the professional pride, but a sense of repayment to those let down by the manner of the defeat.
“We have a great fanbase that travel with us, and to see that many Warrington fans after the game following the performance we put in was embarrassing,” he said.
“As a player you want to repay that faith, that dedication, and now we have a chance to do that much sooner than we had hoped.”