After a scrappy win over Wests Tigers consolidated St George Illawarra's top-four billing at the halfway point of the regular NRL season, coach Paul McGregor declared the team's best footy is still to come.
While happy with the victory, the 16-12 result featured some poor handling and execution from both teams and McGregor blamed a bit of rustiness coming off the bye while having three players off in Origin camp during the lead-up.
"After the bye our cohesion just wasn't there at times but we'll work hard to improve that coming in against the Dogs," McGregor said.
"I think we're in a real good position because I still think our best football is ahead.
"We're getting some people back now, we've played the last month of footy without some high quality players."
Those include fullback Josh Dugan, who hadn’t played since suffering a fractured cheek in the Anzac Test a month prior and skipper Gareth Widdop who missed three games with a strained knee. Both were immense in the win over the Tigers.
"They're back playing now regularly and I think we're still learning out brand of footy, our style of footy," McGregor added.
"We had the bye and came back, had a few blokes away through the week in the Origin period so our cohesion just wasn't there and our connection wasn't there but once we get that right – we're sitting third on the table, it's a good position halfway through the competition when I feel and our players feel we've still got our best footy ahead."
Widdop said the team will be better for the run and benefit from a nine-day break until facing the Bulldogs next Monday.
"There were a few good moments and probably a few areas we can work on," Widdop said.
"As a team we need to be a little bit better in our standards. At times we nearly cost ourselves the game with our kick chase at the end there. They're the little things we need to fix up.
"As a team we'll take a lot from that game into next week."