SUPER League champions St Helens will go into Friday's World Club Challenge under a cloud after experiencing back-to-back defeats for the first time since last June.
Saints won all three major trophies with something to spare last season, but successive defeats by Harlequins and Wakefield have seriously undermined their preparations for the clash with Brisbane Broncos at the Reebok Stadium, for which more than 17,000 tickets have already been sold.
Even the return of Great Britain internationals Paul Wellens and Lee Gilmour could not prevent the champions slipping to a 29-22 defeat to the Wildcats, who were tipped for relegation after losing to promoted Hull KR in their opening game.
Saints coach Daniel Anderson, whose side have not lost three matches in a row since the end of the 2005 season, admits he must quickly lift them from their shocking early-season slump.
"There's a significant number in our dressing room who probably didn't have a level of pride in their performance today," he said. "I need to work harder with them and I will."
Anderson branded his side's latest defeat as the most embarrassing chapter in his Knowsley Road tenure as they frittered away an 18-6 lead, conceding four second-half tries.
"We got steamrollered and I don't like making excuses for what was the poorest display - certainly the poorest half - since I've been here," he said.
"For the first time, our desire to win the game almost evaporated when Wakefield got a roll on. Teams are up for it over 80 minutes and we were very good for 40 or 50 - but that's just not good enough."
Tries from Mike Bennett, James Graham and Leon Pryce, all of which were converted by Sean Long, looked to have put the champions in control but, with mercurial stand-off Jamie Rooney pulling the strings, Trinity played like a side transformed after the restart.
They reduced the deficit when Ned Catic bustled his way over and further tries from Ryan Atkins, Rooney and Matt Blaymire sent Belle Vue wild.
New boy Michael Platt grabbed an impressive hat-trick of tries as Bradford staged a magnificent recovery to beat injury-hit Warrington 36-20 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Full-back Platt, snapped up from relegated Castleford in the close season, took the honours as the Bulls fought back from 14-6 down just before the interval.
Warrington, already without long-term absentees Adrian Morley and Chris Bridge, suffered a double pre-match blow with Martin Gleeson and Vinnie Anderson withdrawing.
They also lost winger Richie Barnett with an ankle injury but coach Paul Cullen refused to make excuses.
"It wasn't the injuries or decisions by the officials which cost us the game," he said. "I am very disappointed with the way we went about our business. The disappointment is huge."