SATURDAY’S disappointing Challenge Cup exit was a sobering experience for a Saints team that had started the Super League campaign with such a bounce and high expectations.

After the money Saints have spent in the off season, breaking the silverware drought was - and still is - high on the agenda.

Getting turfed out of the competition in April means it is a very long time to September and October when the next prize is up for grabs.

In a way this is becoming sadly familiar territory for a Saints team that once hogged the Challenge Cup, making every semi final for 11 years and winning the trophy in 2001, ‘04, ’06, ’07 and ’08.

Six years without the feel good tonic - and financial windfall - of a Wembley trip is hard to take. Remember the days not so long back when fans would say, "We're not going to Wembley this year, but we'll go next season."

So with such trips taken for granted by a body of fans for a spell it is maybe understandable why there was so much flak flying on Saturday and more than air of despondency lingering into the start of the week. A few things went wrong on Saturday - matters that had been building in previous weeks - and in my book all are fixable.

No disrespect to London - but getting back to the long, hard slog of the weekly league grind tonight is something of a massive comedown after losing on Good Friday and in the cup.

Under the thankfully soon to be replaced top eight play offs, the reduction of the league ladder to something of a starting grid for the real business does suck some of the real do-or-die intensity out of these weekly encounters.

I am glad the system is changing next year, ensuring intense, meaningful games in league, gearing up to a crescendo.

It may not be the way I'd have done it, but having trashed the sanctity of the league table they needed a radical prescription.

In tandem with that I really do hope that moves are put in place to restore consistency to the Challenge Cup, with rounds played every other week apart from between semi and final to conclude in May. Or failing that condense it, start in June and finish in August.

Although I know this will never happen - especially once the new format comes online - but we still need another competition; something else to play for, a cup to lift aloft and put in the cabinet and spread a bit of success around.

Not long ago we had the Lancashire Cup, BBC Floodlit Trophy, John Player, Premiership, the Challenge Cup and the league title, when finishing top meant something. Obviously Wembley was king, but all those other competitions were part of the game's rich fabric. They all had their place and to underline that I was drinking with a Bramley fan in the Victoria in Leeds on Saturday - and nobody was going to tell him that the Floodlit Cup was a minor competition after their power cut success of 1973 .