The jury is still out on whether injury-hit Saints have the strength in depth to lift the Super League crown at Old Trafford in early October.
But whatever their chance of taking the ultimate prize, they are now within touching distance of claiming top spot at the end of the regular season and giving themselves a position of strength going into the play-offs.
They were given a timely and massive boost in round 24 of the competition with second-in-the-table Wigan Warriors only picking up a point in a fortuitous 14-14 draw at Hull KR and third-placed Leeds Rhinos paying the ultimate penalty for fielding a much weakened team at London just six day before their Tetley’s Challenge Cup Final showdown against the Castleford Tigers, crashing to a 40-36 defeat.
It leaves Saints, who picked up two priceless points from their 40-16 home win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Friday, leading the way with 36 (three more than the Warriors and four in front of Leeds, Warrington Wolves, Castleford and Huddersfield Giants) with only three fixtures remaining.
Saints run-in couldn’t be much tougher with trips to both Leeds and Huddersfield and a home game against Warrington but chairman Eamonn McManus feels that with the backing of fans and the local community they can surmount a difficult set of hurdles.
He said: “If ever there was a time for everyone to pull together, it is now until the end of the season.
“Injuries have again dealt us a difficult hand but it is not the time for self-pity, or to look for excuses.
“It is a time to rally, work together and to give everything for each other.”
He also pointed to occasions this season when, despite having key players missing, they rose to the challenge and cited an early season home triumph over Leeds and a win at Wigan as prime examples
“There is no reason why we can’t produce those kind of results again in the next few weeks when there is everything to play for,” he insisted.
“We have had our ups and down this year but so has every club during the most evenly fought season of Super League to date.
“We stand three points clear at the top of the table and are still the team to beat.
“We must stay together, strong and focused on the task ahead - and we will.”