Dragons v Cowboys: Five key points
The talking points from the Cowboys' seventh straight away win of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership season – minus their Origin stars – against a Dragons side who slumped to a fourth straight defeat.
Cowboys happy with Origin period form
With such a high number of representative stars in their team, Origin was always going to be a difficult period for the Cowboys.
But following Saturday night's impressive victory over the Storm they've managed to get through relatively unscathed, losing only to the Sharks last week.
"The Origin period is always tough period for us and that's our last game without the boys… now we can regroup," Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
"This is a massive win for us given the players we had out.
"Regardless of whoever comes in and wears the jersey they know they've got a job to do.
"It's huge for the team's confidence."
Completion rates high despite missing stars
Despite the lack of representative level stars in Saturday night's match, the game certainly kept up a high quality with both teams enjoying an amazing completion rate.
The Dragons completed 32 of 36 sets while the Cowboys completed 35 of 39.
"It was a very good game completion wise," North Queensland forward Gavin Cooper said.
"The ball was pretty grippy…. I think we only dropped it once or twice."
Dragons coach Paul McGregor also reflected on the amount of time the ball was in play and how that probably played into the hands of the Cowboys team.
Devastating injury blow on debut
A youngster's NRL debut is supposed to be a moment to savour, but that wasn't the case for Dragons rookie Yaw Kiti Glymin.
After a solid opening to the game, Glymin appeared to tear his hamstring taking a regulation hit-up out of his own end.
The injury is another cruel blow to a team that has been riddled by injury in recent weeks.
It looked as thought the St George Illawarra backline was reaching crisis point as Peter Mata'utia went down minutes later, but thankfully he played on, saving Ben Creagh from having to fill in on the wing.
Dragons crippled by inexperienced team
Injuries and Origin took their toll on the Dragons against the Cowboys.
While Paul McGregor wasn't looking for excuses or wanting to single out any particular performances, he accepted that his side was severely inhibited by their lack of experienced players.
"We had nine players in our regular side not playing and 10 guys who started the year in the NSW cup," McGregor said.
"It was a tough week for all but we certainly went out and played with the right commitment.
"Obviously the guys haven't played much together.
"We had two guys [Mark Ioane and Luke Page] join us on Wednesday and they played for us on Saturday."
Dragons desperate to stop their slide
After sitting pretty at the top of the NRL ladder just a few weeks ago, the Dragons are now a huge danger of slipping out of the top four next week with a number of teams biting at their heels.
They've now lost four games in a row but coach McGregor says his team are certainly in "no panic stations", pointing out that the last few losses have been by small margins.
"The guys have worked really hard to put themselves in a good position on the ladder and when you lose consecutive games you drop real quick," he said.
"We're not happy with that."