FORGET the top eight, a fit and firing Dragons should be aiming for a top-four finish according to returned local product Jack Bird.
It's a big call considering the Dragons opened at much shorter odds for the wooden spoon than they did for a top eight spot.
Critics were emboldened following a first-round loss to Cronulla, but Anthony Griffin's side have since strung together three straight wins. Sunday's road win over the Knights, without Bird and injured skipper Ben Hunt, was undoubtedly the best of the lot.
Bird is well aware there are bigger tests - like Sunday's away clash with Parramatta - still to come, but insists his side won't be accepting mediocrity this season.
"I think a lot of people wrote us off at the start of year tipping us to get the wooden spoon and things like that but I always knew there was no chance we'd get the spoon," Bird said.
"I always believed we were a top-eight team and a top four team of we keep playing the way we're playing. We started slowly against Cronulla and the [start] against the Cowboys wasn't too flash but we played really well against Manly.
"We went up against Newcastle in front of a big home crowd up there and beat them. Once we come up against those top teams it's going to be a lot harder, but if we keep doing what we're doing, we can beat any team we come up against.
"We've just got to keep enjoying what we're doing and, at our best, we can beat any team in the comp. It's just about doing that regularly."
Read more: Bird returns for Parramatta showdown
There's no question that the undefeated Eels pose the biggest challenge they've faced thus far, but Bird said belief is sky-high on the back of three straight wins.
"I've always said, if you build a strong bond off the field it's going to be stronger on the field because you trust each other," Bird said.
"That's what we're doing, there's a lot of trust in this team. We're really close as a pack and on the field it shows. That's what wins premierships. We've been buying into Hook's process and plans. We're traveling well but we can't take a backward step now, we've got to keep moving forward.
"Parra hasn't lost a game all year and they're red-hot favourites but, if we do what we've been doing and little bit more, we can knock them off for sure. It's come at the right time for us. They've won four in a row, we've won three in a row. If we beat them then we're definitely going well."
It'll be a return to action for Bird, who missed last week's victory over the Knights through suspension after pleading guilty to a contrary conduct charge arising out of a clash with Moses Suli his side's win over Manly.
He's watched more footy than he would've liked in recent years but the 26-year-old said he was willing to cop the one-week whack.
"It was obviously really frustrating but one week's better than what some people thought I was going to get," Bird said.
"I didn't mean it. In the footage it looks like I meant it, but there was no point in time I walked up to him thinking I was going to stomp on him or anything like that. I'll cop one week. I'm just loving being back on the field again."