THEY'RE a vastly different team to what they were a month ago, but Dragons skipper Cam McInnes says his side are far from the finished product.
Coach Paul McGregor only narrowly survived a pair of dismal showings against the Warriors and Bulldogs when the competition resumed, though wins over the Sharks and Titans have seen the blowtorch shifted to some of his rivals.
It could come back around quickly should a run of losses follow Friday's game 26-12 defeat to high-flying defending premiers the Roosters, a match they started as rank outsiders.
It was an improved effort, but McInnes isn't interested in those kind of raps ahead of his side's clash with the Raiders on Friday, a match that will also be the grand finalists return to Canberra.
"I don't think any player's happy to go out there, not win and be happy just to compete," McInnes said.
"We're definitely holding ourselves to a higher standard. Obviously we're happy with where we've come from four weeks ago to now, but we did have opportunities to win that [Roosters] game.
"It was a good lesson for us because, they're obviously a very successful side and were able to sustain their high level of performance for the 80 minutes. We probably didn't.
"We just weren't able to stick to our game plan for the whole 80, whether it's fatigue at the end or not being there yet as a side. That's where we're at but we're building towards it.
"It's another great challenge for us coming off the back of the Roosters game straight into Canberra who have been a very successful side as well. It's going to help us with our quest to become a good 80-minute side because we know they're going to be there for the full 80.
"They've got a lot of great players across the park, a lot of hard-working players who stick at it for a long time. That's just what we need the challenge ourselves."
The Raiders have been hit and miss since upsetting the Storm in Melbourne when the competition resumed in round three, dropping games to the Knights and Sea Eagles before going down in golden point to the Eels.
Ricky Stuart made a host changes to that side on Tuesday, including dropping star recruit Curtis Scott to the bench in favour of veteran Michael Oldfield.
Kiwi Test forward Joseph Tapine has also returned in place of the injured Corey Horsburgh, though the biggest news out of the capital was confirmation star back-rower Josh Bateman will depart the club at season's end.
With Tyson Frizell on the way out of Wollongong, it's seen the English hardman linked to the Dragons. McInnes would gladly roll out the welcome mat to the 26-year-old who's also been linked to the Bulldogs and UK powerhouse Wigan.
"I'm not the recruitment [manager] so I'll let them handle that but I think he'd be a great asset to any side," McInnes said.
"I think he's a great player, I was really impressed with him coming over last year and even before that. I watch a fair bit of Super League and watched him play for England and I just think he's tough, he's always in the game and he can play any position so I really respect him as a footballer.
"I also understand his ties to England, I believe he's got a daughter that lives there, so I'm sure its a tough decision for him but I wish him all the best with that."