Jon Wilkin believes St Helens’ loss to Warrington will be a “wake-up call” as the club prepares for tonight’s vital clash at Huddersfield.
St Helens could have wrapped up the title last Thursday but were unable to overcome a resurgent Wire.
A win or a draw will secure the title for St Helens.
Arch-optimist Wilkin, however, believes the reverse - and the resultant shock to the players’ systems - will be invaluable for the play-offs.
“It’s a bit of a wake-up call for us going into the big games at the end of the year,” said Wilkin.
“Performances like that don’t stack up now, we need to play well every week from this point.
“Warrington controlled the speed of the game, they really dominated how the game went. That was frustrating for me as a player watching.”
Castleford can also claim the league leader’s cup if St Helens lose tonight and the Yorkshire side beat Catalan on Saturday.
Wilkin, who is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, added: “When there are consequences it does produce a nervous reaction from players.
“Not only did the errors cost us, but our reluctance to defence well off the back of making errors was a problem.
“All teams make mistakes, but we didn’t follow those mistakes up by defending well and quite often we conceded tries as a result.
“Watching the League Leaders’ Shield being packed up and be moved away live on air is some motivation for us.
“We were written off at the weekend and we will be looking to put that right and finish at the top of the table this week.”