I was devastated when England lost the World Cup Final.
I heard some comments Wayne Bennett said that it was State of Origin standard, and it definitely was.
The players put everything on the line and we came up just short – they did themselves really proud.
When Kallum Watkins went through, I got my hopes up – I’m sure all the Aussie lads will be praising Josh Dugan for his ankle tap.
Players talk about the small one per centers and that was one of those efforts.
In hindsight, I do think George Williams would have made a massive difference at the back end of the second-half. When a game opens up the way it did, that’s George’s kind of playground.
I thought Jonny Lomax (who was picked ahead of him) did a very good job when he came on. But I just think George could have been the difference at the back end of the half and helped them push some points, but it wasn’t to be.
England can definitely be proud of what they’ve achieved.
All in all, I think it’s been a great World Cup tournament. We’ve seen the rise of teams such as Tonga and Fiji and I hope they kick on – the stronger our international scene, the better.
Closer to home, we’re really getting into the tough stuff in pre-season now.
Our first game is a couple of months away but it’s surprisingly easy to get yourself motivated at this time of year. I’ve been lucky to play in some big games and win some trophies, and it makes you want to do it again and again. When you have 30 odd blokes around you all hungry to do the same, it’s a really easy drive into training in the morning.
These pre-seasons are what win you trophies at the end of the year.
Once the season begins, it’s very difficult to improve your strength and fitness because you just don’t have the time between recovering and preparing for games.
You could try and push yourself, but you risk burning yourself out.
If you want to make strides, you need to make the most of the time in the off-season and then it’s a case of maintaining those levels during the campaign.
Nearly all of the lads have been here a while, so they know what is expected of them. Gabe Hamlin is the only new face.
I’ve spent some time with him and he’s very intense about what he does – I’ve wrestled with him and he’s had a good scrap!
I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
Finally, this is my last column of the year.
Here’s to a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.