ST HELENS may well have taken home the crown of world champions back to the UK following an incredible 13-12 golden point win over Penrith Panthers.
Yet, they have not been awarded the $100,000 prize fund for the overall Pre-Season Challenge, finishing third in the overall statistics with Manly Sea Eagles running out eventual winners.
The Sea Eagles did beat both South Sydney Rabbitohs in round one, 30-28, and Sydney Roosters in round two, 28-16, to finish top of the ladder with 29 points.
In second place finished the Cronulla Sharks, who overcame Newcastle Knights in round one with a 28-16 victory before turning on the style against the Canterbury Bulldogs to run out 36-16 victors. The Sharks finished on 28 points.
Crazily, Saints only accrued 20 points to finish in third place despite the incredible win on Saturday as well as the great triumph over St George Illawarra Dragons the previous week.
The Merseyside club accrued three bonus points with a plus 13 points difference, but seemingly lost out on more bonus points given the closeness of the World Club Challenge fixture against Penrith.
More points were awarded for more offloads as well as linebreaks and in a hard-fought, close encounter such as the one against the Panthers on Saturday, it proved extremely difficult to accrue many against the reigning NRL champions.
That has led a number of people to think, well was the Pre-Season Challenge actually fair? The process needs tweaking, but perhaps more weighting should have been given to the World Club Challenge as Saints were effectively penalised for playing the best team in the NRL.