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Dragons are growing in confidence: Griffin

Three straight wins have lifted St George Illawarra to the verge of the NRL's top four as the Dragons grow in confidence after a gritty 22-13 victory over Newcastle.

While the Knights suffered carnage on the field with Mitchell Pearce, Kurt Mann and Tex Hoy all failing to finish the game, the Dragons, who were also without three of their biggest stars, toughed out a win.

With Ben Hunt, Jack Bird and Cameron McInnes all sidelined, Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims stood up with a double, while replacement halfback Adam Clune also had two try-assists.

New coach Anthony Griffin tried to play down the achievements of the side, he said there is growing confidence at the club four rounds into the season.

"They're enjoying what they're doing and it's only been a month, we're nowhere near where we need to be and we're a few troops down today to start the game," he said.

"The two guys that came in had big games in Clune and (Brayden) Wiliame, but we're just getting it done which is a good reward for their effort and the more you win the more you get confidence.

"They'll get a lot of confidence out of that today."

The Dragons haven't won three in a row since the start of 2019 under former coach Paul McGregor, but the renewed attitude and effort is clear under Griffin.

Although it was scrappy, the Dragons showed hunger to compete on every play and were resilient in defence to drive the big Knights pack backwards in Sunday's win.

The Dragons missed 33 tackles compared to the Knights' 11 and had just a 74 per cent completion rate, but their will to keep fighting nabbed them the win in the final 20 minutes.

"The main thing is attitude, they've got a real desire to play and want to play for each other and that's the most important thing," Griffin said.

"When push comes to shove we're finding a way to win games."

Ex-NSW second-rower Sims was enormous for the Dragons, scoring a double - one from the second of his charge downs which typified his will to win.

He also clocked up 120 running metres, three tackle-breaks and a line-break.

""He's put two together now," Griffin said.

"He had a slow start to the year but last week against Manly he was very good and he was in everything today.

"He's got his physicality back on both sides of the ball.

"His charge down was obviously something that turned the game and that's an effort play.

"He's just enjoying his football like the lot of them and it's good to see him in that form again."

© AAP 2021