THE Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats’ season is over after a 9-3 drubbing on aggregate by Sheffield Steeldogs in the play-off quarter-finals.

Swindon’s quest to reach finals weekend in Coventry was all but over after the first leg with Sheffield having run riot in South Yorkshire to establish a 7-1 lead.

Sheffield – who were already leading 2-1 – scored five goals in 23 minutes over the course of the second and third periods to take the game away from their Wiltshire opponents.

Although the Wildcats responded with the first two goals at home in the return fixture, Colby Tower and Balint Pakozdi netting, the Steeldogs battled back to book a semi-final meeting with Leeds Knights.

Talking to Wildcats’ media team about the first leg in which Stevie Whitfield netted Swindon’s only goal, Nell said: “It’s very frustrating. It’s not acceptable, the 23 minutes in the first leg.

“If that game was different then the second leg would have been a lot different too. But fair play to Sheffield, they deserved it.

“We just gave it to them in the first leg, and that’s the most frustrating thing.”

The second leg marked Floyd Taylor’s final game in a Wildcats jersey before he moves to Australia with fiancée Vicky.

Nell called Taylor “an amazing person” before turning his attention to discuss the kind of rebuild the club will need if they are to improve on their fifth-place finish in 2022-23.

Nell said: “It’s a long summer, an important summer for us as a club.

“Leeds have made that extra leap and we need to catch up. Do I think we can fully catch up with Leeds? It’s going to be very tough, but we are going to be closer next year, that’s for sure.

“We've learned so much this season, I don't care what anyone else says.

"We owe our fans a better season next year, and I'm very confident we're going to give them that.

"We’re going to come back bigger and stronger.”