The Raiders snapped a two-game losing streak against the Dragons but did little to announce themselves as premiership contenders with a nervy 22-16 win.
Canberra can be somewhat excused given they lost Sia Soliola, Elliott Whitehead and Emre Guler at various stages of the match.
They were already without Corey Horsburgh and John Bateman.
But after two-straight losses the Raiders needed to make a statement and had the opportunity to against a Dragons side that looked lethargic in the opening half.
Canberra did race away to an 18-0 lead by the break but it could have been much more as execution in attack left much to be desired.
Their potent left-edge proved a handful with Whitehead and Jack Wighton combining beautifully on a number of occasions.
Wighton finished the game with two linebreak assists, a try assist and 372 kicking metres in a very solid display.
But with the Storm and Roosters to come in the next fortnight, Raiders fans will be hoping the challenge will see their side rise to start playing the same sort of footy that saw them make it all the way to the decider last year.
Matt Dufty, Zac Lomax and Euan Aitken proved the biggest threats in the later stages of the second half for the Red V as they ran in three quick tries.
Aitken's 115 running metres and seven tackle busts in the second half were particularly impressive while Lomax was strong across the entire 80 minutes.
It didn't prove enough though as the Dragons fell to another defeat.
They host the Sea Eagles next Sunday while Canberra play Melbourne on Saturday.