SAM Tomkins last night urged his team-mates to cling on to their World Club Challenge disappointment – and use it to drive them to bigger and better things.
The Warriors No.1 cut a forlorn figure as he emerged from the home dressing room minutes after the 21-15 defeat by St George-Illawarra.
The players were desperately hoping to write their names into the history books, and emulate the achievements of past victorious WCC Wigan teams in 1987, 1991 and 1994.
But their gallant efforts weren’t enough to clinch them victory.
Wigan must now bounce back from this heart-breaking defeat and Tomkins, pictured, says they must use the anguish from last night’s game to propel them forward.
He said: “We’re all gutted, but I think long-term we must use it to our advantage. A lot of players haven’t played a great deal at the top level – myself included – and now we’ve had a taste of it, this can drive us on.
“We’re all devastated to lose, and we don’t want to feel it again.”
Two tries by George Carmont helped Wigan to a 15-14 half-time lead. But Cameron King’s close-range try midway through the second-half – in only his second first-team game – ultimately proved decisive, as Wigan failed to break down the Dragons defence in the second-half.
“They were the better side,” said Tomkins. “We weren’t far off in terms of desire and passion, but we just weren’t smart enough. There was no question of effort, but some things didn’t go our way, if things had stuck it may have been different, but it wasn’t.
“We got off to a flyer, George was outstanding to get the two tries, and I don’t think we disgraced ourselves – but we’re not happy to lose by a little bit and we’ll learn a lot from this.
“The fans were outstanding, it’s disappointing for them.”
Wigan’s cause wasn’t helped by an injury to Stuart Fielden the day before the game that ruled him out. He joined three other front-line stars – Pat Richards, Brett Finch and Jeff Lima – on the sidelines.
But Tomkins added: “There’s no excuses there. Our squad is that strong, we still had a quality side.”