Trial matches are a notoriously unreliable guide as to a side's prospects come the season proper, but it's certainly better to go well in them than to go poorly.
The Dragons have done that so far, reaching the final of the NRL Nines - notably at a heavy injury cost - and defeating Newcastle 38-12 in Maitland on Saturday. Here are the five biggest takeaways.
Zac Lomax looks the goods at fullback.
It's rare for any coach to declare a player - particularly one with just 17 games experience - a lock for any position, let alone a key one.
That's what Paul McGregor did with Zac Lomax in November, a move aimed at bringing come certainty to the spine that was a major juggling act at this time last year.
Fullback's always been Lomax's preferred position and, having signed a five-year deal, it does seem pointless to waste time on that development.
Consistency is always the challenge in what's the toughest position on the field. The learning curve will be steep but the 20-year-old threw himself into everything on Saturday.
He stood up to the test under the high ball and had a key hand in three of his side's five tries through the three quarters he played. His goal-kicking was also on point and Ben Hunt certainly backed him post-game.
''Attacking wise he's feeling his way into it and making some good decisions,'' Hunt told AAP.
''Defensively he's working that out as well, it's a bit new to him counting the numbers and sorting things out but he's coming along well.
''It was always going to be him or [Matt] Dufty but Dufty is out for a few weeks now so I think Zac's got a good opportunity to really lock that position down.''
Back three still a headache for McGregor
It was in the corresponding trial last year that Mikaele Ravalawa made his pitch for an NRL start. The attraction was obvious - the club had lost its biggest metre-eater in Nene Macdonald and were in need of a big body to get them out of the back end of the park.
He showed glimpses of special finishing, 11 tries in 19 games, but was at times a key error waiting to happen. What makes it tough for McGregor is the fact the other wing contenders have the same tendency.
Jordy Pereira no doubt has his nose in front after scoring four tries on Saturday - and it's great to see after the frightening neck injury he suffered last year - but he'll also need to get mistakes out of his game.
Jason Saab has some imposing physical attributes, but his opportunities have been limited. Don't be surprised is he gets a long opportunity in the Charity Shield, but Pereira and Ravalawa look odds on for round one.
Brayden Wiliame will put pressure incumbent pair.
Dragons fans are never shy about expressing their opinions, even the unflattering kind. Centre pairing Tim Lafai and Euan Aitken undoubtedly draw the most criticism.
Both were down on form last season but were largely without pressure from beneath. That looks set to change with Wiliame's arrival.
Plenty raised eyebrows when the club brought him back from the Super League but, after a tough start to his NRL career, he looks keen to make the most of his second coming.
As mentioned, the second half on Saturday was largely a reserve grade fixture but you can only play who's in front and he did, grabbing a try and laying one on for Adam Clune.
He's typically been a left side specialist so it's Lafai who could feel the most heat but he'll keep both on their toes.
Billy Brittain could prove a valuable pick-up.
This is an interesting one. Avid watchers of the Canterbury Cup have long sung Brittain's praises and expressed surprise he's had just two cracks at NRL footy.
His work was tidy on the weekend, as was Joe Lovodua's, and he looked pretty crisp after just a week's prep.
Many have logically assumed that, with Cam McInnes to miss the start of the season, Isaac Luke will simply move into the No. 9 jumper. That's probably still the safest bet but don't be surprised if we see something different.
Luke's days as an 80-minute hooker are gone, but he can be very dangerous against tired defences with his power running game out of dummy-half. He's said himself that he's been preparing to play a super-sub role from the bench.
Depending on how many games McInnes does ultimately miss, we could well see Lovodua or Brittain start at hooker with simple instructions to give good service from dummy-half.
That would allow Luke to play the bench impact role he's spent the best part four months preparing to play, and one he'll continue to play on McInnes' return.
Patience required on son of a gun
Where does Tristan Sailor fit in the this Dragons puzzle? It's a fair question and not an easy one to answer for McGregor.
It's impossible not to love what he's produced over the last nine months. The temptation would be to throw him on the wing just to get him in the side but the truth is Sailor's attributes are wasted on the flank.
He's spent most of the preseason training at five-eighth and played both there and at fullback in the second half against Newcastle on Saturday. The spine is where he's best suited to playing.
With the players in front of him in those positions his opportunities will likely need to come through injury. He's beautifully poised to make the most of them should they arise.
Plenty of fans will be dirty if he's not in the Dragons side for round one but getting the best out of him will be more about giving him the right opportunity rather than the first one.