DRAGONS coach Paul McGregor admits he "almost fell over" when told his side was only outside the top eight on for and against after their win over Canterbury on Monday.
It's not surprising after five straight losses, but differential remains all there is between the 11th placed Dragons and the Eels in eighth.
With Corey Norman returning from injury, and a number of big guns set to follow, McGregor said there's now plenty to be optimistic about.
"It wasn't a complete performance but it was an improvement on what we've done in the last month," McGregor said.
"I thought the timing of the [bye] helped to reset and press on. Sometimes when you're at the coalface you over-think a little bit.
"When you get away you have a good time to reflect and we'd just got away from what was working really well for us in the past.
"We got back to it a little bit today."
It puts them within striking distance of the eight, but McGregor said it hasn't been his focus.
"I haven't looked at the ladder, I've just looked week to week and [now] we're on the same points as eighth position," he said.
"For me it's just about focusing on our process week to week, not the ladder. Wins push you up the ladder anyway, losses push you down.
"I'd rather just keep a real clear focus on what we need to improve on and stay at the more than anything else.
"The competition's tight, anyone can beat anyone on their day. Put a couple of wins together and you can get up the ladder pretty quick."