With three rounds of punishment remaining, the Dragons couldn't capitalise on a good start against Penrith and were never really in it, with the 34-16 loss leaving them languishing in 11th with a tough run home.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin said a turnover forced by Nathan Cleary that was followed by a try should have been called back for a shoulder charge, but complaining means nothing now.
Despite having good chances, completions and possession in the game, the Dragons still came up with critical errors at the wrong times and didn't put it to the Penrith defence.
But one of the only bright spots for fans after a late-season of suspensions was a sensational late-game appearance from Junior Amone, who was injected into the halves for the final quarter of the match, scoring a try, a try assist and all-but set up a third.
While coach Griffin wasn't happy with the referee's and result, he was pleased with the late charge from the Illawarra Sports High budding playmaker.
"He goes to the game," Griffin said.
"He's a really lovely kid. He's a classy footballer. We played him in the centres, then threw him back at five-eighth, which is his natural position from the juniors.
"He's just got that touch of class about him. Against a really good defensive team, he set a couple of line breaks up and scored one himself."
Fans do have something to really look forward to with young guns Amone, Tyrell Sloan, Jayden Sullivan and Cody Ramsey coming through the club's ranks.
But in some bad news, hooker Andrew McCullough the only player who had made over 1000 tackles this season, was forced from the field with an ankle injury after being caught awkwardly in a tackle.
The Dragons' season has been inconsistent, and with skipper Ben Hunt unlikely to be back, the finals have slipped out of reach.
The Red V are still just one win behind eighth but would need to make up a big points differential.
They play two top-four teams in the final three games, starting with the Roosters on Sunday at Toowoomba, and need to win them all, so the Dragons are just about out of calculation.
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