THE PAIN will take time to fade, but half-back Gareth Moore reckons Featherstone Rovers’ latest Grand Final disappointment will stand them in good stead in the future.
Rovers suffered their third loss in four Championship title deciders since 2010 when they were overpowered 36-12 by league leaders Leigh Centurions at Headingley Carnegie two days ago.
Leigh also ended Rovers’ four-season stint at the top of the table, but Moore said he is optimistic about the future under rugby league’s new structure, which begins next year.
“I think we’ve had a hard season, but we have become more of a tight-knit group and we went into (Sunday’s game) pretty confident to be honest,” said the former Leeds Rhinos academy, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Batley Bulldogs playmaker.
“I think it was a match too far for us. We are disappointed, but Leigh have showed this year they are the best team in this division and they showed in the final they are a quality side.
“We are going to go away and have a break now, but we’ll come back for pre-season and be even stronger.”
Rovers have some talented young players who will benefit from the experience of this season and the Grand Final, according to Moore.
“We talked about that in the changing room,” he said. “We’ve got Sean Pick and young (Luke) Teasdale playing in the team and they’ve done brilliantly.”
Teasdale looked to have got Rovers to within touching distance of Leigh in the second half when he plunged over from acting-half, but video referee Ben Thaler ruled “no try” due to an alleged obstruction by James Lockwood.
“They were gone in the middle,” Moore claimed.
“We could see that and we were executing our plays well. If that try had been given I think it would have been a different story, but it was not to be.”
Sunday’s defeat piled on the disappointment for Moore, who was in the Batley team beaten by Sheffield Eagles in the 2013 Championship decider.
“It’s hard,” he admitted. “It is not a good feeling, but we have got a young set of lads here and a few signings coming in. Andy (coach Andy Hay) is going to have his first pre-season with us and hopefully we will be better next year.
“It is always hard when a coach gets sacked and someone else has to come in midway through the year and start giving his own plays and ideas of what he wants to do, but I think we’ve stuck by Andy well and we’ve stuck together as a group all year.
“We are a tight group here and hopefully that’ll stand us in good stead next year.”
Moore is also hoping to build on a positive campaign when Rovers report back to begin pre-season next month.
At just 25 he is already on his sixth club, but he said: “I am really enjoying it. I can’t wait for pre-season
“I have got a problem with my knee and I might have to have a clean out, but I am feeling good and I’m settled here. I feel at home and I thought the fans staying until the end (on Sunday) were brilliant. I have got one more year after this and hopefully I can get another contract.”