WARRINGTON Wolves back-rower Jack Hughes says it was a bizarre feeling not being involved at the business end of the Super League season.
The Wolves suffered a disappointing home play-off defeat to Castleford Tigers as their season ended prematurely, denying them a shot at a maiden Super League title.
All they could do was watch on as Castleford then fell to Salford, who beat Wigan, and were then triumphed by runaway leaders St Helens in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Hughes, 27, at least had the distraction of being selected for the end of season Great Britain tour, though he had to withdraw from England’s World Cup 9s campaign through injury.
He said: “It was a very disappointing end. We picked the Challenge Cup up and that was one of the goals of the season.
“When your season doesn’t go to script, regardless of whether you win the cup or not, it was a disappointing end.
“You kind of feel lost with us finishing so early before the Grand Final, I’m not used to that. We usually finish a week earlier at worst, so to finish three or four weeks before the Grand Final actually happened was pretty bizarre.
“I felt lost for a couple of weeks, I didn’t know what to do with myself, but with the sessions with the 9s and the GB squads have kept myself busy and fit and working hard there.”
It was Hughes’ first season as co-captain at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, as their run of appearing in every final under Steve Price came to an abrupt end.
They won just three of their last 12 Super League games as they surrendered what looked like a comfortable second position in the table to finish fourth, which meant no second chance in the play-offs.
Hughes, who has been struggling with injury in the second half of the season, is currently on the Great Britain tour in New Zealand, though hasn’t been named in the squad for either of the first two tests.