1. The build-up to Friday's game was a tough one. No matter how well Saints have played all season, another big game defeat was enough to take the spring out of anybody's step - players and supporters alike.

There was the real prospect that, just like last season, the Challenge Cup hangover could have impacted on the Super League. There is no doubt last year that the wheels came off the Saints bandwagon with last year's semi defeat by Catalans and were never really put back on.

That was the worry - and it was a relatively quiet crowd at first.

But those fans soon realised Saints were doing it tough, the volume rose as the players picked themselves up off the canvas with a gutsy performance against Castleford.

2. Given how jaded Saints will have been from their Wembley exploits in the heat, and considering they were playing a Cas side noted for playing attacking rugby, it was a huge surprise to see only one score in Friday's game.

Regan Grace took his try exceptionally well to dash in at the corner - and they looked like they crossed again through Jonny Lomax at the end, only to see it chalked off.

The last time Saints won by a 4-0 margin it was on a glue-pot Brewery Field in Bridgend, with another wing, Tom Armstrong taking the spoils.

Defence is about attitude, and it was a tremendous effort to keep Cas at bay, defending wave-after-wave of Cas attacks.

It was not pretty at times, but the fans really bought into that backs to the wall commitment.

3. Given the furore over the previous week's non-referral to the video ref for Morgan Knowles' try at Wembley, it was surprising to see the Jonny Lomax score not sent upstairs.

Obviously, it did not matter in the grand scheme of things. But surely, where a try is scored get a second opinion.

4. Unlike last year, Saints did properly celebrate the League Leaders Shield.

And coming off the back of a tough, competitive game like that contributed to that celebration.

If you recall last year Saints won their pre-presentation game with depleted team in a game to forget.

It may not have been the silverware the fans or players wanted to be picking up most, but the Shield is nevertheless a reward for being the best and most consistent team over the course.

We need to celebrate it as such - not dismiss it insultingly as the hubcap or suggest that it is a worthless prize. Saints have won 24 games to win it - with two to play. Sure it should be celebrated - if not then you would question why bother playing 29 rounds.

But it would still be better if the found the old rugby league Championship trophy and award that to the winners.

5. It was pleasing to see the reaction to the team on the lap of honour - particularly hearing the Coote song again.

Coote did not play, having been concussed at Wembley. And he did cop a bit of stick on aspects of his cup final display in the fans' post-mortem.

But having said their pieces, it was pleasing to hear that backing again and it was like the club - in all its parts - coming back together after five days of mourning and soul searching.

6. What it does do, performance wise, is draw a line under Wembley and point the year back towards what needs to be done.

There are now just two regular games to go and then the play-offs are on us.

With Wigan resurgent in the league in second, Salford playing well and Warrington benefitting from their Wembley filip, the play-offs should be interesting.

Let us just hope Saints can carry their week-to-week form into the big games and do themselves justice when it counts.

Read: Tommy Makinson's thoughts on treating big games like normal matches>