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Chris Hill's remarkable debut year with Warrington Wolves ends in disappointment
WARRINGTON Wolves prop Chris Hill was unable to take much consolation from his remarkable season as he presented a familiar disconsolate figure upon leaving the Old Trafford changing rooms on Saturday night.
Like all his teammates, the 24-year-old was feeling the pain of a missed opportunity in the 26-18 Grand Final loss and was doing his best to stay strong after Leeds Rhinos were crowned champions for the fifth time in six years.
“It’s a really disappointing end to the team’s season,” he said.
“We have gone one step further than last year by reaching the Grand Final but when you get there you want to win it.
“And it would have been a pretty special moment to do the league and cup double especially in my first year with the club, but we have to look at it as progress and we’ll bounce back from this.”
Hill’s outstanding form in this Challenge Cup winning year, including player of the year awards from the club and teammates, is capped with his call-up to the senior England squad for the Autumn International Series that starts later this month.
“I just don’t want to think about all that now,” said the Dream Team prop, who joined Wolves after a Northern Rail Cup-winning campaign as a part-time professional with Leigh Centurions.
“It’s disappointing. We were in the Grand Final and the game was there for the taking.
“When we had Leeds on the back foot I don’t think we took full advantage of it.
“We spilled a lot of ball and it got Leeds back into the game. That’s the way Super League Grand Finals are won – on the back of a couple of errors.”
He added: “We knew it was going to be close, just the same as when we played them in the cup final at Wembley.
“We knew the intensity was going to be higher and we were up with that intensity.
“Just a couple of little things in the game tipped it over the edge for Leeds.
“We were always confident in our defence, but there were a few things in our attack – little knock ons, maybe not finishing our sets as well as we would have liked.
“I think all the defending took it out of us in attack and Leeds took full advantage. To be fair, Leeds were the better team in the last 20 minutes.”