Josh Kerr has admitted St George Illawarra's infamous barbecue has contributed to the Dragons' spiral, as they face the prospect of a wasted NRL season.
The Dragons have lost five straight games since the July 3 party at Paul Vaughan's house, which prompted the host to be sacked by the club.
In total 21 games were missed between 13 players through suspensions or time out of the bubble after the breaches, coinciding with the Saints' horror slide.
The Dragons sat fourth on the ladder after five rounds and were within the top eight until the end of round 19.
But they must now win their remaining three games – which include the Sydney Roosters on Sunday and South Sydney in the final round – to hold any realistic hope of making the finals.
Players have pored over data this week that show they are among the competition's worst for making errors out of their own end in the past month, completing at 75 per cent.
But Kerr says that came down to confidence, and that off-field issues at the club had not helped in that time.
“Things haven't been going the way we want them to go, and obviously a lot of off-field stuff as well with us,” Kerr, who attended the barbecue, said.
“When it rains it pours in that sense.
“I just think (the barbecue) was part of it.
“I can't speak for everyone else but for me it was just mentally draining and pretty depressing a few weeks ago.”
The Dragons have also been playing without captain Ben Hunt (arm), while Josh McGuire will start at hooker this week with Andrew McCullough's season over.
But Kerr though does insist all hope is not lost.
He is adamant there were positive signs against Penrith last week, conceding the Panthers are just in the habit of winning at the moment.
“When we played normal and just held the ball we were beating them,” Kerr said.
“But we just had too many silly errors just coming out of our own end.
“I thought we bashed them in that first half of football but they just have that habit of winning at the moment because they are so successful.
“I don't want to say we have a habit of losing, but we just find ways to make a silly errors.
“It probably is a confidence thing.”
The prop-turned-second-rower though does claim there has been a change, and the Dragons can save their season in Toowoomba this weekend.
“We just need to get that one win,” he said.
“At training so far it has been pretty intense … We are going to turn it around, I really think we will this weekend.”Internet Explorer Channel Network