THE only thing worse than losing to the Roosters and Raiders in consecutive weeks, is knowing you'll have to do it all over again.
That's the task ahead of the Dragons, featuring Gerringong's Korbin Sims and Jackson Ford, Shellharbour's Trent Merrin and Euan Aitken and Albion Park-Oak Flats' Adam Clune, after going down 22-16 to the Raiders on Friday night, a loss that puts a finals berth all but beyond reach.
They'll face the Roosters again in round 13, the high-flying Eels a week later, and the Raiders in round 18.
Throw in a final-round showdown with Melbourne and their prospects look even more dire than their 2-6 record.
Jarrod Croker arguably did it easier when he breezed past Matt Dufty in pursuit of a loose ball in the Dragons in-goal for the match-sealing try 15 minutes after the break.
It came moments after Mikaele Ravalawa dropped his side's brief second-half resistance cold on halfway in receipt of a line dropout, any real chance of comeback slipping through his fingers with the footy.
Dufty broke his side's duck with 20 minutes to go but Zac Lomax - a 86 per cent kicker - splaying the conversion from just to the right of the posts said a lot about out his side's night.
He atoned in converting his own try minutes later but that, and Dufty's second try two minutes from time, added little more than respectability to a scoreline that ultimately flattered them.
It followed first-half tries to Nick Cotric, just five minutes in, and Bailey Simonsson but it was Williams' 38th minute four-pointer courtesy of a yawning gap in the Dragons defensive line that was the real dagger.
It was another frustrating evening for coach Paul McGregor, with his side finishing ahead of the opposition in virtually all statistical categories but never really looking like winning barring a late rearguard action.
"I was filthy with our first 40," McGregor said.
"Errors are part of the game but you've got to get each other's back and defend them.
"There were a couple of tries that shouldn't have been scored at this level.
"Our response in the second half, winning that 16-4, it's what we needed to do for 80 minutes.
"We built pressure, we got a repeat set and then we released pressure knocking on off the dropout and they scored on the next set, a try that shouldn't have been scored.
"We've got to stop that part of our game. Once we stop that part of our game we'll keep falling forward.
"At the moment we're falling backwards because we're not learning well enough week to week.
"Last week [Luke] Keary scored a show-and-go on the try line and this week it happened again, two different people.
"We're improving in the right areas in the last four weeks but our first 40 wasn't good enough tonight.
"Our young players are still learning the game, I get that, but a lot of it was from our senior players so we need to be better.
"Our second 40 was what we needed to start building for next week, but we need to sustain effort for 80 minutes across the field."
McGregor's side will now face a wounded Sea Eagles next Sunday, ahead of clashes with the Sharks and Bulldogs.
Losses there would no doubt stoke the flames of discontent that engulfed the club a month ago.