All-action flanker Ben Fry believes the performance against Leinster on Friday night is a sign of positive progress.
Dragons earned a deserved losing bonus point against the reigning Guinness PRO14 champions thanks to late tries from replacement half backs Luke Baldwin and Josh Lewis.
It was the second most points conceded by Leinster this season – second only behind their defeat at the hands of Connacht in January.
Rising star Fry, 22, dazzled in defeat and led the way in the league in tackles (20) and turnovers won (4).
And the abrasive back row believes, despite being disappointed with the final result, the squad can take heart from the performance and spirit shown.
“The boys all put a massive effort in,” he said. “Obviously we are disappointed not to come away with a result, but to push a team top of the league like that is a real step forward.
“It was a sign of progress and we were unlucky to have a try disallowed – my try!
“The yellow cards played a big factor; it’s hard playing with 14 men.
“But the boys dug in, we stuck with it and got what we deserved with a bonus point at the end.”
Dragons have five games remaining in the current Guinness PRO14 season, with back-to-back away games next up before three more at Rodney Parade.
Dean Ryan’s men face derby day action with the Ospreys in less than two weeks, but first up is a trip to Italy this weekend to tackle Zebre in Parma on Saturday (kick-off 5:15pm).
Fry has impressed in his two outings since returning from injury and admits he is finding his way back to full fitness.
And the Radyr-born back row believes if they can build on last week’s performance then there is no reason why they can’t come away from Italy with a win to boost European hopes.
“I feel good, my lungs are starting to come back now after a bit of time off and although the body is a bit banged up it was just good to be out there - I thought it went quite well for me,” he added.
“I feel like I’m coming along nicely and I’m enjoying my rugby, enjoying being around the camp and the boys have helped me move forward.
He continued: “It was a blow for me to miss out on the Heineken Champions Cup, but it’s made it a real motivation to try and get back in it next season.
“We know we need results to do that, starting with Zebre on Saturday night.
“We have to go out there and build on this performance. We will take confidence from last week if we can build on that display then hopefully we can come away with a win.”
We have to go out there and build on this performance... We will take confidence from last week if we can build on that display then hopefully we can come away with a win...