St Helens' Australian coach Kristian Woolf reckoned his team had performed well below their best as the Super League champions ground out a hard-fought 22-12 win over struggling Leigh.
Saints met unexpectedly strong resistance from the winless Centurions at Leigh Sports Village but ultimately did enough to maintain their 100 per cent start to the league on Friday.
Two tries in quick succession early in the second half from Australian Lachlan Coote and Jack Welsby proved the game-breaker after the scores had been locked at 6-6 at the interval.
But even then, it took another touchdown from former Wests Tigers star Kevin Naiqama to finish the job after a fine interception try from Anthony Gelling.
"I thought we were off tonight," said Woolf. "We were ill-disciplined and our ball security was poor.
"We never got any real flow and when we did get opportunities we were disorganised attack-wise. Our heads weren't where they need to be to produce what we expect.
"What we did do was defend well. That's one positive, and if we can be as far off our standards as we were and still get a win, it's a really good sign for the group."
Saints' night finished on a sour note as forward James Bentley was carried off on a stretcher in the closing minutes.
"It is a lower leg injury," said Woolf. "The indications are it might not be a good one but I don't want to speculate. He'll need X-rays and scans."
Elsewhere in the Super League, winger Tom Davies scored a hat-trick of tries for Catalans Dragons against Wakefield for the second successive season to help them to a 38-18 victory that keeps them in touch with the leaders.
Davies repeated his treble heroics from last August and New Zealand international Dean Whare scored his first tries for the Dragons, who ran in 18 points in the last 12 minutes to secure a flattering margin of victory.
In the late game, Danny Richardson kicked Castleford to a 28-18 victory over Salford, nailing six from seven with the boot, including a penalty goal from near halfway to clinch the win.