HEARTBROKEN FULL-BACK Ashton Golding described Leeds Rhinos’ Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Hull as beyond disappointing.
The 20-year-old scored Leeds’ final try – his first touchdown of the season – and reckons he will benefit from having played in such a big game, but admitted it was difficult to find positives after the 43-24 loss.
Golding said: “Disappointed doesn’t come close to describing how we feel right now.
“When you want something so bad and you can’t have it now it really does hurt.
“As a player and a supporter you want to get to Wembley and you want to play on the big stage.
“I know I can’t this year, but it’s something in my career I really want to do.
“We have got to move on now, we will review it, but we have got to look forward.”
The semi-final was the most important game of Golding’s career so far.
“Maybe next time I’ll feel the benefit from it,” he said.
“It’s difficult to express how I am feeling at the moment – I am heartbroken.
“It’s always nice to score a try, but that doesn’t matter – I’d rather play badly and get the win.”
Rhinos led twice in the first half, but conceded a try almost immediately both times and Hull went ahead just before the break.
Leeds never got into their stride in the final 40 minutes and Golding admitted Hull were too good on the day.
Of what went wrong for Rhinos, he said: “There were a couple of things.
“They got a quick ruck and their kicking game was really good, really clinical and pinned us in the corner.
“Their forwards were great and their back-three kept bringing it back.
“There’s many things we can look at, but I just think they were on – they were difficult to handle.”
Hull scored three touchdowns in the final quarter, but Golding insisted: “The back end of the game, I wouldn’t read too much into.
“When a team gets on a bit of a roll, there’s not long to go and you are a few tries down it is very difficult to stop their momentum.
“It is what it is and we’ve got to move on.”
Rhinos begin their Betfred Super-8s campaign on Friday at home to Wigan Warriors.
“Emotionally it took its toll,” he said of the semi-final.
“We are a tight-knit group and that’s a positive we can take out of it.
“We are a really honest group and honesty is a big part of what we believe in.
“We can get up there, we know what’s at stake now.
“You don’t want to start the eights on a loss because it has that tumbleweed effect.
“We really want to go out there and make a statement now. It’s how we back up and we’ve been pretty good at that this year.
“Wigan coming to our place, what better time to settle scores?”