Shaun Wane says his players are now more determined to reach the Grand Final after missing out on Wembley.
Warriors get their Super 8s campaign underway against Wakefield this Friday, and by securing a top four spot after seven more games, will earn a place in the play-offs.
But Wane wants his players to aim for a first League Leaders’ Shield since 2012, as well as a fourth straight Grand Final appearance, and says last Friday’s loss to Hull FC has made his players, especially the younger ones, even more desperate to reach Old Trafford on October 8.
“It will do people like Oliver Gildart, Ryan Sutton, the world of good playing in those big games,” he said.
“They were very noticeable in how upset they were after the game and again on Saturday morning.
“So it’s good for people like Sam (Tomkins) and Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin), who’ve done it, won and lost those big games, to give feedback at training.
“They’ll be stronger players and probably more determined to get to a final after what happened.”
Wane also explained that, while it was tough to see his players deal with defeat in such a big game, he expects his squad to take lessons on board from the experience.
“You don’t like seeing a kid upset, but what you do get is a lot of passion in these big games,” he said.
“They’re here to win things and we’ve lost a massive game that meant everything to everybody – and it was our own fault we lost.
“That’s hard to take when you’ve worked so hard, but it will make them more determined for it not to happen again.”
Now Wane wants to see every game in the Super 8s ‘treated like a Grand Final’, and he hopes Wakefield, also dealing with a semi-final loss, will catch a Warriors side making a statement to their rivals.
“Every game is a must-win, and we are thinking about nothing else other than Wakefield on Friday, and making sure they get a really good performance put on them by us,” he said.
“We’re treating it as a Grand Final – every game. The preparation will be very intense.”
Wane also revealed that other than welcoming back Josh Charnley and Frank-Paul Nuuausala from suspension, he doesn’t expect anyone else to make a return to the squad.
Liam Farrell, recovering from a rib injury, aims to return next week at Castleford.