The Warriors remain a work in progress – and they are running out of time to find their best.
This was another frustrating loss, as they worked hard to establish a lead with 30 minutes to play, before eventually falling 24-18 to the Dragons on Saturday.
Unlike some previous weeks, the effort couldn't be questioned but defensive lapses and an inability to seize the moment consigned them to their fifth defeat in six games.
These are the kind of matches the Warriors have to win, against middleweight opposition, but the Dragons have now banked a quinella over the Auckland club this season.
It was one of those days where almost every bounce of the ball and marginal call went towards the home side, but that was far from the full story.
The Dragons were rewarded for more invention and endeavour, while they also lifted the intensity in the second half and the Warriors couldn't stay with them.
It was yet another game of sweet and sour halves, following the inconsistent pattern that has been a hallmark of this Warriors campaign.
Reece Walsh struggled off the tee, with only one conversion, though three attempts were from the sideline, and Shaun Johnson had another mixed night.
Addin Fonua-Blake was outstanding before limping off with a foot injury, with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Viliami Vailea strong on the right edge, while Tohu Harris showed his value on both sides of the ball in his first start since his return.
Earlier the Warriors had recovered well, after a terrible start, with the Dragons crossing in the first minute following two calamitous errors.
Johnson knocked on from the kick-off, before Euan Aitken made a meal of cleaning up a grubber, to gift Zac Lomax a try.
It was an ominous start – after last week's first-half capitulation – but the Warriors soon steadied the ship.
Vailea replied in the 10th minute, after acrobatic work from Watene-Zelezniak, who cleverly tapped back a Johnson bomb.
From there the Warriors dominated the half. They got momentum through the middle and limited mistakes, even if they lacked some snap in their sets.
They were also defensively sound, apart from when Cody Ramsey slipped through for the Dragons' second try.
But otherwise they were solid and probably should have been further ahead. Johnson scored his first try of the season, spinning out of a Ben Hunt tackle, after a Fonua-Blake offload and storming Jazz Tevaga run had split the defence.
And Vailea tiptoed down the sideline for his second, after more outstanding aerial work from Watene-Zelezniak.
The only thing missing, in slippery conditions, was more poise in possession as the timing of either runs or passes wasn't quite there.
They extended their lead early in the second half, with a neat set move, as quick hands on the right edge sent Watene-Zelezniak over for a 18-12 lead.
From that high, things went south in the space of four minutes. They conceded a cheap try under the posts – exposing again a soft underbelly – before Lomax got his second, after Ramsey had cut open the Warriors left edge, following a quick turnover.
The Warriors tried to force their way back into the contest, before a controversial call, with Lomax adjudged to have made it out of his in goal, after a massive pile-up, when all available evidence suggested he hadn't.
St George then broke down field before extending their lead through a Lomax penalty with 10 minutes to play.
From there Warriors never came close to forcing golden point, despite some late flurries down either flank.
Dragons 24 (Zac Lomax 2, Cody Ramsey, Michael Molo tries; Lomax 3 cons, pen)
Warriors 18 (Viliami Valea 2, Shaun Johnson, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak tries; Reece Walsh con)