“DEFEATS have given me a more rounded view of the game…”
They’re the words of Jon Wilkin as he turned his mind towards Saturday’s Grand Final.
The 27-year-old has been with Saints for the last nine seasons as has experienced both sides of the Old Trafford emotional spectrum.
But he admits whilst you can learn from defeat being comfortable with that scenario is not an option.
“It’s been an interesting journey over the last few years. We’ve obviously been consistently good at achieving a high standard of performance, but in the big games it is a coin toss as to who wins, and the coin has been heavily loaded on one side.
“It doesn’t pray on my mind, and people think that’s rubbish as it must do, but there is so much that has happened since then. Your career defined by moments and you are constantly going through new experiences, so it is sort of in the past for me really.
“It is something I am glad that’s happened. To celebrate success you have to acknowledge that defeat has been part of that and it gives you a rounded view of the game. You don’t want to get too comfortable with that but losing is part of being a professional sportsman.
“You learn from successes and defeats and you can’t stand still as teams are evolving all the time. If you win the Grand Final, you need to learn from that as if you don’t you won’t be back here again. But there is no magic formula to winning the match. It is down to hard work and luck.
“If we work hard, be honest and confident then good things will happen. Leeds will do the same of course and they are in good form with fantastic experienced players.”
He continued: “Our youngsters have become men this season well before the two wins over Wigan. Leeds away was an iconic game for them. Both Jonny [Lomax] and Lee [Gaskell] came into the team and played well. That gave them the confidence to go on and prove what players they are. Now they will be wanting to produce one more for the club.
“It’s great to be around the kids as a senior player. At Quins the other week I was the second oldest player in the team. I am enjoying the role of being part of their development and I enjoy their energy, ambition and drive too as well as their naivety at times.
“It is an attractive quality to be around and it’s great that we can learn a lot from each other.”