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Dragons playmaker Corey Norman.

After losing five games in a row, the Dragons get back a win and coach Paul McGregor doesn't mind admitting he was shocked to learn that his side is now on equal competition points with eighth spot on the NRL ladder.

After being in the doldrums, the Dragons' 36-12 win over the Bulldogs on Monday propelled the joint-venture club from 13th to 10th. But it also put them on 12 competition points, which puts them alongside the eighth-placed Eels.

"I nearly fell over when I heard that to be honest. I haven't looked at the ladder. I just look week to week," McGregor said.

"For me it's about focusing on our processes and not the ladder. Obviously the wins push you up the ladder and the losses push you down.

"I'd rather a real clear focus on what we need to improve and sticking to that."

McGregor said the timing of the bye helped his team "reset and press on".

The other difference was the return of Corey Norman from a cheekbone fracture, to link again with Ben Hunt, who seemed to grow an extra leg after a confident display in Queensland's Origin I win.

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Dragons

"Without Gareth [Widdop] and Corey at the same time it puts a big dent in your football team seeing as they're both top-end players," McGregor said.

"With the return of Corey, Ben played a nice, solid role.

"Corey has been doing a lot of repetitions on the park due to the fact it was a facial injury and not a muscle, knee or ankle injury. So he went out and played like he trains.

"So they fell back into their patterns. Before he got injured we'd won four in a row and got beaten by not much against the Roosters on Anzac Day.

"Against Parramatta it's 18-all at the time he goes off and he's been out for a month. For him to come back is a big 'in' for our footy team.

"Benny has a real good liking to play with a senior half beside him. They perform well.

"Corey likes to be a solid voice there, and I think that relaxes Ben's game – same when Gareth plays with Ben."

McGregor will be expecting no less when the Norman-Hunt show travels to Lottoland next Sunday to play the Daly Cherry-Evans led Manly Sea Eagles.

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