By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
After securing their first win in eight games against the Knights last weekend, rejuvenated Dragons captain Ben Creagh refused to call their next two games as "make or break" despite St George Illawarra being out of New South Wales for a block of 10 days.
The Dragons are precariously positioned in the top eight on 22 points with the Bulldogs and the ninth-placed Warriors equal with them – and Manly and Raiders chasing the pack just two competition points behind.
Creagh believes such crucial games against the Warriors and the Broncos this weekend and next won't seal their fate for the season, but it will give them a glimpse into how their season may pan out past the first week of September.
"It's the two biggest games of the year for us and there's no other way to describe them. But that's why we play footy, that's why we started training last year in October – to play these types of games," Creagh told NRL.com.
"It's important heading into the finals to be playing well and to be beating teams still in contention as well as those on top of the competition ladder.
"If you're beating teams in the top four like Brisbane for example, you can get a lot of confidence and a lot of belief in that game and it can only help us in the last remaining games in the season and leading into the finals."
Confident in his assessment for the weeks ahead, the same may not have been said if the Dragons faltered against the Knights last week.
Down 20-14 at half-time, the Dragons managed to score 32 points in the second half against Newcastle.
Scoring points has been somewhat of an issue for the Red V this year so the fact they were able to score over 20 points for just the fifth time in 2014 had Creagh most pleased.
"It was a bit of a roller coaster that game to tell you the truth. Newcastle came back at us after we scored a few tries early off some set pieces, which was nice, but it was better to come out in the second half and work together to put on 32 points," Creagh said.
"To score that many points, but also get the win as well, is great to get some belief back in the team. But also boost up some individual confidence as well amongst players which is really important at this time of the year.
"Any win is great but this one in particular is important heading into our game overseas before playing the league leaders [Brisbane]. If we can secure these wins on the road the better it's going to be."