Retiring Dragons halfback Nathan Fien expects St George Illawarra to make an immediate revival next year after bowing out with Saturday's emotional farewell victory over the Warriors at WIN Stadium.
At the end of a year of disappointment, where finals have long been out of the frame, Fien and the Dragons were inspired in crushing any lingering playoff hope the New Zealanders had.
Fien came from the field to a rousing reception during the second half, before teammate Mick Weyman - leaving to play in the UK Super League next year - was also replaced by coach Steve Price before full time.
It meant the retiring trio - which includes injured centre Matt Cooper - were on the sidelines together to celebrate one last win.
Following the emotional post-game scenes, Fien said that the experience some of the Dragons' next generation had gained would ensure the Red V bounced back next season.
Centre Charly Runciman scored the game-sealing try, after young halfback Josh Drinkwater snapped a field goal to break a 10-all deadlock and help secure the 19-10 win.
"This is what I play footy for and my whole life it's been about your mates and digging in, hanging in there and that's what we did today," Fien said.
"The Warriors had everything to play for and a lot of people said we had nothing to play for, but it just goes to show the strength that's within the group.
"While the season was gone in terms of finals, we were still able to put a pretty gritty performance together.
"A lot of those injuries we've had throughout the year have impacts, but we're professionals and we can't blame that.
"Blooding those young guys like the Runcimans, Greens and de Belins, they are starting to play some really good footy through the course of the year.
"The club is a very proud club with a lot of history and it won't be down for long, those guys will be leading the way in the future."
The Dragons have made a number of significant signings for 2014, including Storm playmaker Gareth Widdop, centre Dylan Farrell and Canberra's Joel Thompson.
Having secured Josh Dugan mid-season, the Dragons will also welcome back Gerard Beale and Kyle Stanley from long-term injuries.
After a frustrating season marred by toe and pectoral injuries, Cooper said watching Saturday's win would be one of the more special moments of a decorated career that has included Test and State of Origin, as well as the 2010 premiership.
Cooper said it was important to come away with a win as part of the club for the final time.
He said the victory was something he would never forget.
"The boys showed some heart there today and I hope a part of that was to send us boys off as winner.
"I think we stuck tight and there wasn't many hidings this year and that's what the Dragons are about.
"We keep showing up week in, week out and it's something I'm really going to miss."