St Helens captain Jon Wilkin says he is at his lowest point in Rugby League after his side were dumped out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup in humiliating fashion.
Saints were dominated by Super League leaders Castleford, eventually falling to a 53-10 defeat at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and their skipper was left disconsolate after the match.
“It does not get much worse than we are at the moment,” Wilkin told BBC Sport.
“Self-belief disappears and you are in that negative spiral and we can’t get out of it. We need some self-reflection and we have some hard work to do.”
The sacking of Keiron Cunningham last month has failed to spark a revival at the club as they wait for the visa approval of incoming coach Justin Holbrook.
Yesterday’s result means Saints have only the league to focus on now and they face an uphill struggle to make the top four with a seven-point gap to Leeds in fourth.
Renowned as a club which prides itself on winning silverware, no trophy since the 2014 Grand Final has left fans frustrated and Wilkin is under no illusions about the job Holbrook has ahead of him.
“It’s a big job, it’s a huge job. Confidence has gone. We need something to break that. We were hoping a big performance would do that, but that was not the case.
“Congratulations to Cas, they have been exceptional all year and really set the standard. They have played an exciting brand of rugby and throw the ball around.”
St Helens face a tricky couple of weeks with their next match on Saturday against a resurgent Hull FC at Magic Weekend, before the blockbuster against arch-rivals Wigan the Thursday after.