St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor declared Sunday's loss against Canberra their worst game of the season, but insists his team can still make the NRL finals.
The Dragons have to win six of their remaining eight games after a lacklustre effort saw them thumped 36-14 by a red-hot Raiders in Wollongong.
McGregor slammed the performance but with James Graham (leg) and Gareth Widdop (shoulder) to return he believes they can still feature in the post-season.
"We've had our distractions this year but we had enough talent on the field today to win that game of footy and we didn't go close," McGregor said.
"So we've got to really own up to that performance and change that because that's unacceptable. You can call it desire, attitude, effort, it comes down to pride in your own performance."
McGregor said not only could the Dragons make the top eight but they could win the competition.
"Absolutely. I think we can win it," McGregor said.
"I know that might sound unrealistic sitting here right now, but that's how I approach every training session and every game - that we're going to put our best performance in and if we do that we can win games of footy and win a few in a row to play finals. If we're healthy, look out.
"But we've got a long way to go after tonight as that was a disappointing performance.
"I'm not going to defend that performance at all. It was the worst performance of the season.
"There's no excuse.
"We have to improve quick."
St George Illawarra are 14th on the ladder McGregor said Graham could return this week against Penrith and Widdop the following round against South Sydney.
Australian Associated Press