THEY'D won four straight coming in but Dragons coach Anthony Griffin says his side got burned by the Warriors on Sunday after several weeks playing with fire.
The Dragons arrived at Kogarah looking to make it five in a row for the first time since going 5-0 to start the 2018 season.
They twice looked in command of the clash, leading 4-0 early and 14-12 midway through the second half, only to concede soft hit-back tries on both occasions to go down 20-14 at home.
After doing enough to get past similar lapses in their previous four wins, Griffin said they were finally made to pay by a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck-led Warriors.
"Even though we've been winning the last few weeks, we've been giving up some cheap points for the opposition," Griffin said.
"We've been doing it for most of the season. It's been there since round one, it's been there for six weeks. It hasn't hurt us up at Newcastle, and even last week against Parramatta, but we came up against a really good committed side.
"They completed 38 from 39 so they were very good. We gave them points they didn't earn and it came back to bite us. They only earned one try but it's a tough competition and if you hand the opposition points it's going to get you burned at some stage."
The Dragons led 4-0 early after Cody Ramsey finished off a beautiful exchange of passing to cross in the corner, but it was two tries conceded in the space of three minutes that put them in a hole.
Tohu Harris carried some flimsy defence across from close range in the 12th minute and Paul Turner was gifted his side's second try just three minutes later after Matt Dufty fumbled a Kodi Nikorima grubber in his own in-goal.
Dufty made up for it with his side's only try of the second half, winning the race to an Adam-Clune grubber to take the lead with 20 minutes to play. It gave the hosts all the momentum before Tuivasa-Sheck, who ran for a staggering 265 metres, brushed past Jack Bird to score what proved the match-winner.
The Dragons completed at a tidy 84 per cent for the afternoon, but made an overall 10 errors, with Griffin saying the timing of crucial ones proved costly.
"When we got to the lead we fell into our worst period with the ball," Griffin said.
"We had two or three errors after we got to the lead which invited them down our end. We were really clean with the ball too, we ended up 35 out of 40, it was just when we made our errors they were at a crucial time.
"We conceded points that we didn't have to and the opposition didn't earn. That was the most disappointing thing. To our credit we scrambled and defended really well for long periods to give ourselves a chance to win that game after being down 12-4.
"We didn't get any help from the opposition. Nikorima and Sheck are super players and they had a really strong day against us. Sheck came up with that try as he can... that was enough to get us beat."
The Dragons will look to rebound in the traditional Anzac Day clash with the Roosters next week, with Griffin saying injured skipper Ben Hunt is a slim chance of returning.
"It's still touch and go," Griffin said.
"He had a big run [on Saturday]. He's a chance, I don't think he's a good chance, but we'll see how he recovers. When he's ready he'll be ready.
"When your captain and your halfback's not playing you'd always like him to be there, but we did enough to win the game today even though he wasn't there."