Nathan Okell gives a fan's perspective on a tough week and explains why the defeat in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Catalans Dragons has a big part to play in the remainder of the campaign for the Super League leaders

FOR many Saints fans, this week has not been the most pleasant.

The problem with playing on a Sunday means that you go into work on a Monday with little or no time to get over a difficult loss.

READ: How the semi-final was lost

WATCH: Holbrook's apology for Saints' performance

In the case of a high-profile Challenge Cup semi-final, it takes even longer. And spare a thought for those working in areas such as Wigan, Widnes, and of course Warrington.

Having had a couple of days to stew however, and the prospect of a short turnaround, attentions start to turn towards Friday, with the beginning of Saints' charge towards Old Trafford.

Yes, it would have been great to cheer the boys on at Wembley, however once again it is not to be.

A loss can sometimes be as useful as a win, acting as a wake-up call and motivating players to elevate their performances.

It can also help to re-focus those who may have unwittingly let their heads be turned by the possible glint of silver in the sunset.

Obviously it was not wanted or expected on the biggest stage of the season so far in Bolton, but it is now done and we must all learn from it and attempt to move on.

St Helens Star:

Tough scenes at the end of the Challenge Cup semi-final in Bolton on Sunday, with Catalans Dragons players celebrating and Warrington fans jubilant as Saints slump to the floor. Picture: Bernard Platt

With the League Leaders' Shield close to being secured and the prospect of yet another semi-final on the horizon, it is important for Saints fans and players to not get too disheartened by Sunday’s defeat, with plenty still to play for.

The old adage of ‘there are no easy games from here’ is most certainly true looking forward to the impending Super 8s fixtures.

However, seeing the way Saints have performed this year (Sunday excluded), there is no reason why fans cannot be confident for the rest of the season.

In the week, Saints coach Justin Holbrook spoke of the need to jump back on the horse, with Huddersfield looking to extend their excellent run of form and remarkable recovery against a Saints squad with wounded pride.

Simon Woolford has got his players playing an expansive brand of rugby, which has seen them win nine from their last 10 Super League encounters, with an average of close to 26 points from them in each.

That, pitted against the attacking flair and rugged defence we have seen from Saints for the majority of this campaign, sets up an intriguing clash to entertain both sets of supporters.

One thing to be certain of is that fans should not underestimate the Giants, as they possibly did looking back at Sunday’s semi-final.

Huddersfield are not the same side that were decimated 66-4 by Saints at the Totally Wicked Stadium in April, in the same way that Catalans were not the same side that conceded 40+ points against the likes of Widnes, Hull FC and Castleford in the first half of the season.

As Huddersfield players look to do the exact opposite of what they did on that night, Saints must be looking to play in a similar red-hot fashion.

Excellent individual performances from the likes of Ben Barba, Jonny Lomax and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook made them for the most part unplayable, with a questionable Jordan Turner try being the opposition's only response.

St Helens Star:

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Ben Barba. Picture: Bernard Platt

All it takes is a change of coach, a return from injury of a player or two, or a mid-season new arrival to spark life into a team. Remarkably, Huddersfield were looking at relegation to the Championship, and are now looking at sneaking a top four spot.

For Saints, Justin Holbrook spoke of how 'the only positive is that the Super league season is still going'.

He added: “The cup would have been a good bonus, but it’s out of our hands now, and the good thing is that we get to play again and it’s not the last game of the season.”

St Helens Star:

Justin Holbrook at Saints' press conference on Monday.

Saints now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of what happened in Bolton, starting this Friday against the Giants, but they must not forget what happened.

They must use it as motivation for the rest of the season, in order to prevent a fall at the final hurdle once again.

Hopefully, as disappointed as we all still feel now, this experience will stand us in good stead for the bigger games coming up at the business end of the season, and hopefully prevent a similar result from occurring.