By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
The five day turnaround did its best to derail the Dragons’ third win in a row, but it wasn't enough to stop their momentum following their 27-24 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
With the Dragons winning their second game of the year having backed up from a Monday night the round before – a feat that only the Newcastle Knights have achieved this season – they are now sitting pretty on the brink of the eight with the bye to come next weekend.
While they theoretically could be in the top eight by the conclusion of Round 18, Dragons mentor Paul McGregor is just happy with the win.
"I thought when they needed to find something they did which was really good for a football team. We have won four from our last five games now," McGregor told reporters following the win.
"If we spoke about that a month ago they would have laughed at us if we brought it up so it's a credit to our guys. They have really earned that week off."
"In patches tonight we were really good and at other times we were really off. Our kicking game let us down at different stages but overall we were happy."
While the end result was indicative of the solid performance from halfback Benji Marshall, McGregor seemed most proud of how the halfback has handled his return to the NRL this season considering he failed to play much football during his brief stint in rugby union.
"He's a very good player and a very good person. He showed his quality there tonight at stages and if everyone saw him training and saw how he went about his business you'd realise he is a true professional and that's what this football team needs," McGregor said.
"He's been pushed into a side without playing much footy and he's strung six or seven games together now and as it is he's growing into that senior role in the team and he's a pleasure to coach."
With the Dragons now perhaps on a roll towards September football, McGregor believes now is a good time for his troops to rest having no fears that it could halt their momentum in the backend of the season.
"We have upped their training over the past month of footy so we have been pushing the guys pretty hard so to get the break this weekend it is a well-deserved one," McGregor said.
In further positive news for the Dragons, lock Tyson Frizell is set to be the only man remaining in the casualty ward once the bye weekend passes in what can only be a good sign for their showdown against Manly in Round 19.