PAUL McGregor was so relaxed pre-game on Friday it looked as if his hair might grow back. It was probably wishful thinking, but there were plenty who put suggestions of a Dragons victory over Parramatta in the same category.
As it turns out, some wishes do come true. Certainly not all of them, McGregor would be the first to tell you that, but he at least went out a winner on the back of his side's gritty 14-12 win at Bankwest Stadium against Batemans Bay's Brad Arthur and his Eels.
It ended a tumultuous week in which McGregor handed his resignation to the board after it refused to scrap the 'panel' approach to team selections.
It was one of a myriad of factors that brought his seven-year reign at the club to an end, but they were all seemingly put to bed prior to kickoff on Friday.
"I thought Friday was going to be a real tough, hard-fought game against a top-four side who was at full strength and I knew what was coming up to be honest," McGregor said.
"We've got (games against) the three Queensland teams (over the next three weeks) that are in and around us on (the NRL ladder) and I wanted the team, Dean and the staff to get a fresh start going into those three games.
"So I wanted to take responsibility for the game and whatever the result was on Friday they could start again next week. This just gave them a little bit of a push into next week really.
"It was a nice way to obviously finish my career with the club. The players are pretty emotional as well in there and there was a lot of talk that they weren't a tight group and they weren't playing for me but that was just too far from the truth, and I think they displayed that."
With their desire to see him gone now met, even his most staunchest critics would probably wish him the best. Amid all those circumstances it was always going to be difficult to judge what performance the Dragons, featuring Group Seven's Euan Aitken, Adam Clune and Korbin Sims, put on the park on Friday.
In the end, it was pretty much the same as most of their efforts this season - incomplete. They fought back from an early deficit to lead on the stroke of halftime, only to concede the softest of tries to Kane Evans two minutes into the second half.
It's the point where the Dragons have folded for most of the season, only this time they didn't. Whether it was a desire to send McGregor on a winning note or not, they found something.
It was ultimately a pair of second-half penalty goals to Lomax that got them over the line after a first-half double to Mikaele Ravalawa.
Ravalawa also produced a try-saver on fellow Fijian flyer Maika Sivo at the other end just minutes before posting his second to take a points decision in the much-hyped battle between the countrymen.
It had a little bit of everything, including some bunker controversy, with Kaide Ellis and Reed Mahoney both left feeling hard done by with tries disallowed in the final 12 minutes.
There was only a blade of grass in the call to disallow Mahoney's try that would've given his side the lead with 10 minutes left, though replays appeared to show him grounding a Blake Ferguson grubber on the Dragons dead-ball line.
It proved to be their last chance, with the Dragons holding on to ensure McGregor walked away smiling.
Clint Gutherson crossed for the opening try in the 13th minute after Waqa Blake strode into a yawning gap in the Dragons defence and found his skipper in support.
The Dragons hit back when Lomax out-leapt Gutherson in pursuit of a Corey Norman bomb and found Ravalawa with the offload for his side's first four-pointer. Lomax couldn't add the extras from out wide, leaving the score at 6-4 to the hosts after 24 minutes.
Jordan Pereira - who was arguably best on ground - looked like he might take the lead for his side minutes later when he slipped past three defenders into the Eels in-goal only to ground the ball on the sideline line.
Norman received what was probably some long overdue good fortune in successfully challenging a knock on call and turning it into a penalty. He provided the lofted pass for Ravalawa's second try three rucks later for a 10-6 lead, with Lomax's sideline conversion, four minutes before halftime.
Evans carried three defenders across for his try two minutes after the resumption to re-take the lead before Lomax levelled the scores with a penalty goal with 20 minutes to play.
Ellis looked to have posted the go-ahead try when he latched onto a favourable deflection of a Ben Hunt grubber, only to be controversially denied by the bunker.
The Dragons were ultimately awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which Lomax nailed to take a 14-12 lead with 14 minutes to go. It proved enough in the end.