St George Illawarra are clinging to the edge of the top eight but coach Paul McGregor admits they can't be considered finals contenders on form.
The Dragons copped their worst loss of the NRL season in going down 36-6 to Manly at Brookvale on Monday night, blowing a golden chance to move into eighth spot.
Cruelled by fundamental errors, a 19 of 32 completion rate and poor performances from halves Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop, the Dragons looked listless and rudderless.
Going into next week's bye they are 10th on the ladder, but after being badly exposed by the Sea Eagles - who went into the match on a seven-game losing streak - questions are being raised about the Dragons' real standing.
The Dragons were blessed with a fortunate schedule over the State of Origin period, drawing North Queensland and Melbourne on weeks they were without their biggest stars.
But their seemingly promising 30-18 win over last-placed Newcastle the week before proved to be a false dawn and they have ignominy of owning the second-worst attack in the league (215 points from 16 games) ranked only in front of the Knights.
Asked if his side were playing like finals contenders, McGregor said: "No, we're not, not tonight.
"I think the last six weeks we've been playing some good footy and leading into some good form. We didn't show that (against Manly) and that's disappointing.
"That was a four-point game, we know the situation we could have been in, we could have been in sixth spot after the bye and now we're fighting again."