St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham was "embarrassed" at how some of his squad performed in their loss at Leeds.
Cunningham said prop Andre Savelio was "outstanding" and also omitted Jon Wilkin and James Roby from criticism, as Friday's 46-18 defeat left Saints three points behind leaders Leeds.
"Andre is the youngest front-row on the field and he's your best forward apart from Jon Wilkin," said Cunningham.
"For me that's a little bit embarrassing," added the 38-year-old.
"All credit to Andre - he was absolutely outstanding and justified why he got his spot.
"We've got some high-profile big names playing in the front row who should be doing a lot better in these big games. Unfortunately a lot of my senior players just didn't turn up."
Twenty-year-old Savelio signed a two-year contract extension earlier this week.
Reigning champions Saints have lost their last two Super League games but have progressed to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, with a rematch against Leeds to come in the last four.