SATURDAY night's blood-and-thunder World Club Challenge encounter produced plenty of taking points which make this week's Set of Six.

1.Saints' 20-12 defeat by Sydney Roosters left us all talking about ifs, buts and maybes.

Saints had their chances – with Tommy Makinson’s two 50/50s chalked off and the wingman dropping further chance that he’d normally take.

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If those had counted, with a couple of more missed opportunities, we would have been looking at a different game – and a possible different outcome.

Similarly, who can calculate what impact a cool-headed and experienced Lachlan Coote could have brought – or the finishing of Mark Percival and Regan Grace.

2. Seeing the Saints players wait for the Roosters collect their trophy, applauding with their heads up, was quite a difference to the last time Saints played for this trophy – the 39-0 drubbing by South Sydney Rabbitohs.

This time around there was respect, without any sense of being awe-struck and overtly reverent. And they seemed much better prepared – with that opening try showing that this was going to be a real game, not an exhibition match.

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And the very fact that the fans stayed in number to applaud, and left the ground feeling gutted to lose rather than relieved to avoid a shellacking showed how far we have moved on since 2015.

This game can be a fine springboard for the rest of the 2020 campaign.

3. One of the outstanding features of the match was the way that the packs went at it hammer and tongs. Pick of the props was Big Al, who really led from the front and routinely put a dent in the Roosters line.

He copped plenty of high shots too, and even needed a spell off for a concussion assessment, but it just seemed to spur him on even more.

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His try at the end was a just reward for his evening’s endeavours – and certainly will have had a few Australian clubs looking on enviously. Big Al, of course, turned down the NRL to sign a four-year deal back in 2018.

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4. If the Saints players did their bit, the club and the supporters matched them in making the World Club Challenge night a great occasion with a fantastic build up and entrance. The visitors enthused about what an atmosphere it was so hopefully the has come out of this with a huge amount of credit. That is no bad thing when it comes to trying to sell your club to prospective new players and sponsors.

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5. The only slight disappointment was the 16,000 attendance. A game like that should have had the sold-out notices posted months ago.

We don’t help ourselves at times – particularly with the way the fixture is left up in the air at the end of every year, and left largely in the hands of the two respective champions to organise.

This fixture needs to be a showpiece, not a sideshow – and has such there should be along term plan set in stone.

And timing wise, surely it would work better at the end of the respective domestic seasons in October rather than an add-in at the start.

Tinkering with the World Series format a couple of years ago - by adding teams who've never won the league - probably didn’t help. And this year – for the first time – we had a full slate of fixtures over the weekend.

For all that, there are probably a few in town who will look back and kick themselves for not turning out on Saturday.

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6. Roosters coach Trent Robinson’s words after the game offered a measured analysis of where the game had been won and lost. He delivered them with good grace and class, showing respect for Saints and the Super League comp in general and gave his backing to what needs to be done with this clash of the champions.

Robinson has always come across as a really knowledgeable and likeable bloke.

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Back in the early days of Langtree Park in 2012, when he was coach of the Catalans Dragons side that produced their equivalent of a ‘Wide to West’ to score after the bell, with a nerveless Scott Dureau converting.

Any coach would have been forgiven for bouncing into the post-match press conference pumped up with adrenaline – but his measured post-match response including a large degree of empathy for the impact that loss would have on Saints coach Royce Simmons.

If you recall, that defeat was the first of four on the spin and led to Royce being shown the door.