SAINTS coach Paul Wellens was left bitterly disappointed by his side's shock 8-6 defeat at home to Super League strugglers Castleford Tigers, who had previously only won three games.

It was made worse given it came off the back of a loss to Salford, with two tough games against Wigan and Warrington coming up. 

There was a general flatness about their game, with their aimless attacking play compounded by some ill-discipline, forced offloads and a failure  which combined to see the visitors triumph.

Wellens said: "It is a bit of a head scratcher really because off the back of a poor result a couple of weeks ago and a bit of time off to freshen up I can't understand why we looked so flat at times during the game.

"That's something for myself and the rest of the staff to work out. It’s happened a couple of times this year but also the players need to take responsibility there.

"We spoke before the game, and said we've got two debutants who are pulling on the jersey for the first time. Every time you get the chance to pull on this jersey, it's a privilege.

"You have got to play as if it is but we have too many at the moment who don’t seem to do that."

Saints welcomed back skipper Jonny Lomax, but were without Sione Mata'utia, Daryl Clark and Konrad Hurrell, plus the long-term casualties.

"There is a ready-made excuse there, isn't there that says we've got nine frontline players on the sidelines," Wellens said.

"And they are good players and they help you improve your team and you can't get away from that.

"But the team that we had on the team is good enough to win that game.

"But there's periods in the game where we just don't handle it the way we should.

"The team I recognise when they're at the best is a team that are comfortable being in tight games but in two tight games in recent weeks we have not handled it well.

"Whether it's pushing a pass or in backfield today we've dropped three kicks - they are moments in games that will have a big impact on not only the performance, but the result as well.

"Obviously it goes without saying that we that we need to improve dramatically."

The game took place in something of a subdued atmosphere in the side's first home game for a month. 

Welllens said: "It's a bit of a strange atmosphere, but we've got to create our own there and we've got to give the fans something to cheer.

"If you look at Matty Lees and the way he plays the game, the intent that he's got - he's playing the game at a different speed to a lot of players out there, That shouldn't be the case.

"Us at our best is when we are all at that speed - hunting together and investing hard to win tackles.

"We're not having that consistently enough.

"Look, the game never got going as a spectacle across the board and the rucks were as slow as they been a long, long time.

"But we've got to be able to handle that, we've got to be better than.

"When I say we have to learn lessons and learn them quickly I feel like I'm repeating myself."

Saints led through a first half Sam Royle try before Mark Percival slotted a seconf half penalty.

But a Cas try and two penalties saw the vistitors take the two points.

"I was disappointed with the way we let them back into the game because they just didn't look like scoring.

"We came up with a poor defensive read on the right edge and gave them a bit of encouragement.

"I thought Mark Percival was probably one of our stand-out players tonight, with Matty Lees, but he forced a couple of offloads in the game where if he just holds the ball perhaps we get a bit more joy on the next play.

"We just have to understand that those 50:50s forcing the passes are not even 50:50s, they are 20:80s and don't work that often. When they do they look spectacular but for a team like us we have got to handle those games better.

"I now have to consider whether to make changes.

"They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, isn't it? So maybe a few changes need to be made if we are going to progress as a team," Wellens said.