Two-point loss aside, St George Illawarra back-rower Will Matthews was one happy man after earning the chance to show his worth against the Storm last Monday night.
With Joel Thompson (corked glute) ruled out late to play Melbourne, coach Paul McGregor stuck solid with Matthews in the back row despite Tyson Frizell returning quicker than expected from back surgery.
Only cramps kept him from finishing the game, which Matthews believes will be crucial for back-rowers moving forward considering the NRL's new interchange rules.
"It was a good start to the year for me personally. It was good that Mary showed faith in me and gave me a crack," Matthews told NRL.com.
"With the interchanges now coaches are going to be pretty hesitant to change their back-rowers if they don't have to.
"They would be focused on rotating the middle players a bit more because they're obviously going to be doing a lot more work."
On the Storm loss, Matthews said errors and not contentious refereeing decisions were the reasons behind the defeat.
In game where defence ruled the roost – only four forwards made over 100 metres between both teams – Matthews added St George Illawarra moved away from their game plan once their 10-0 lead over Melbourne was cut down just before half-time.
"It was a close one but it was definitely disappointing. It was a game we could have, should have won. A lot of errors cost us and we went away from what we set out to do and it caught up with us in the end," Matthews said.
"There's definitely room for improvement. There were a couple of calls from the referees that could have gone either way but they're always going to happen so you can't blame them for the loss. There were plenty of things we could have done better."
Meanwhile Dragons co-captain Ben Creagh claims he isn't threatened by the hostile Sharks crowd expected during their local derby this Sunday afternoon.
"They're a quality side the Sharks. They recruited well and no matter what they're always tough. Wherever we play them: doesn't matter if it's Kogarah, Shark Park or in Wollongong, there's a lot of pride on the line so it's exciting," Creagh told NRL.com.
"The best thing about playing in Cronulla is that it's so close to Kogarah and Wollongong. It's in the middle pretty much so we get plenty of support there on the hill, that's the best thing about it."