SAINTS' Thursday night reverse came as a shock to the system - a first defeat in the north of England since September 2018's play-off exit at the hands of Warrington and a first nilling since the Super 8s defeat at Wigan in 2016.

Here are some of the talking points from the weekend.

1. Kristian Woolf did not look for any excuses or mitigation in the defeat.

He could have been forgiven for mentioning that Saints were missing Grand Final winners Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, James Roby, Kyle Amor and Morgan Knowles going into the game, but then suffered more disruption in losing prop Alex Walmsley with a calf injury in warm-up.

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But he was not giving any excuses for the team out there to feel sorry for themselves; spelling out that the team have to be better at overcoming things.

Although that is undoubtedly true you couldn't help but thinking how different a game it could have been with Big Al thundering it in, with Roby's sharper distribution from dummy half, Coote's calming influence from the back and Makinson finishing off the clear cut chance in the corner.

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2. Watching the game unravel was painful for the huge travelling support, who had bounced into the Halliwell Jones with some confidence.

It was not really rocket science. The gameplan essentially started to fall apart as a result of some shocking ball control - whether that was dropping high kicks, loose carries or slipping daft passes that were not on - each fatally contributed to being unable to build anything in attack and handing Warrington the initiative to keep hammering the Saints line.

That it cracked only three times - including a dubious one - probably said something about the team's spirit to hang in. A much heavier defeat seemed likely that a 19-0.

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3. The game was Saints' first defeat since losing at Wembley to Warrington. The Wolves pack were dominant and bust them open three times up the middle.

Warrington back row Matt Davis - speaking to the Warrington Guardian after the game - had his own theory, which if anything should fire up the Saints pack for the next meeting.

"We knew what we could do if we took it to the Saints pack. It really set a platform for us.

"We did it in the Challenge Cup Final and we did it here.

"I don’t want to say too much but if we take it to them, they don’t really want it.

"They shy off and that’s what happened. They didn’t really want to carry the ball at us."

Now I wonder if those quotes will be getting pinned to the dressing room walls.

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4. Saints have probably got used to winning every week, so much so that when a defeat is thrown into the mix it is like Storm Ciara knocking everything out of sync.

There is no divine right to win - especially not with a depleted team and at a tough place like Warrington.

Understandably, people get upset - especially losing to THEM....but the idea that it was because it was down to the lack off season recruitment is way wide of the mark.

Saints effectively released two of those players last year for cap reasons to upgrade and retain two Test players. The two others who were released were no longer regular first teamers and moved on to get first team matches.

In a capped sport the balance of the squad has to have a blend of players - and buying in players to effectively sit in the reserves when all the six or seven injured players return is not a viable strategy, especially when that money will be needed to try and retain some of the club's crown jewels in years to come.

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5. Two games in and there have been a few observations on the wrestling techniques that the team have clearly worked on in the off season.

Other teams have done it to Saints in the past with a view to neutralising their attack.

Whether we like it or not, it is part of the game.

However, Thursday showed that if you try to slow things down without earning that right by a dominant tackle you are going to get pinged - especially at away grounds where there will be a cacophony from the 8,000 assistant referees.

If it is a tactic Saints are employing they have to tread that line carefully.

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6. Storm Ciara played havoc with the fixtures yesterday - with the Huddersfield v Leeds and Wakefield v Catalans games called off.

It produced the perennial debate about starting the season too early.

Rugby league's biggest problem is ending too soon, which is one factor in the early start.

It is bizarre that some teams have finished their season in early September - when conditions for playing are perfect. But that is what happens when you have to get the year wrapped up to synchronise with the NRL for the end of year internationals.

But when we talk of summer rugby and look back to the halcyon days of the first summer season, we can often overlook that back then the Challenge Cup rounds started earlier.

But also, some clubs have repeatedly said they need the extra fixtures to be financially secure.

Now to drop back to fewer games and shorter seasons there are only two ways to go, but both would be unpalatable.

The first is to pay the players less (and see a further outflow of talent to the NRL and the other code).

The second is to share the TV money among fewer clubs and effectively cut the Super League to 10 based on performance, facilities and attendances.

Given neither solution will be popular or remotely considered for implementation, just accept that - in the absence of rugby league suddenly attracting even bigger and better blue chip sponsors - we are going to have this same discussion about season starting too early, too many games, player welfare and loop fixtures every season