THANK goodness all the players who went out on to the field at the weekend are still driven by personal and professional pride and did not simply look at a league table and play for position.

Some argue that on the final weekend all games should kick off together like the last day of the football season to stop teams to cynically plotting where they want to finish – and even chart a more comfortable pathway through to Old Trafford.

There was, however, absolutely no evidence of that at the weekend. In fact it was quite the reverse with Huddersfield doing their best to snatch both points at the death when a draw would have arguably actually earned them a more favourable draw in the play-offs.

After 12-man Saints had been downed by a single point at Huddersfield on Friday, and for the first time winning the League Leaders’ Shield was out of their hands, nobody would have really expected Castleford not to take advantage and leap to the top of the table.

Well that was the view at the Galpharm Stadium on Friday night as the tears flowed down the cheeks of the travelling fans and the raucous cries of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire!” filled the air.

Although not on a scale of some of those Grand Final losses against Leeds or Wembley losses against Halifax and Wigan Friday nevertheless felt like a big defeat.

But this time we had a reprieve.

Again, on paper, Catalan had little to play for on Saturday. Safely ensconced in seventh, the Dragons could have been forgiven for wrapping their players in cotton wool for a week and prepare for this weekend’s knockout clash at Leeds.

But no, the Dragons breathed fire and Tigers cowered away to deliver the shield to south Lancashire.

As much as the ‘hub-cap’ is belittled – usually by fans of teams that have not won it or who have their eyes on bigger things – it is nonetheless a big starting point for the new Saints.

Sure, Saints won this trophy every year when Daniel Anderson was at the helm – and it was something we became blasé about with Old Trafford understandably the focus.

But sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the massive changes that have taken place at Saints since then. The departure from Knowsley Road and the retirement of a cluster of ‘team of the century’ type players have meant that this has been a tougher transition than most.

This new crop of players, who have not won anything since they pulled on a red vee needed this honour if only to write a few lines of history for themselves.