‘YMA o Hyd’ got its traditional pre-match airing at Parc y Scarlets last Saturday, a song that should stir feelings at Rodney Parade.

After all the despair, challenges and self-inflicted wounds, the Dragons are still here. So are a core of resilient supporters, desperate for a few more peaks to go with the lengthy troughs.

There is hope of that, both in the short term and long term.

Their team provided a glorious high in Llanelli and will attempt to repeat the trick on home soil on Saturday afternoon to avoid the winless streak in Newport stretching beyond a year.

The Dragons have endured a torrid campaign but have a chance to finish strongly before returning in the summer to start plotting what must be a much more consistent effort in 2022/23.

I appreciate we have all been here many times, but the signs are promising after what looks to be good work by director of rugby Dean Ryan and head of recruitment Rob Burgess.

South Wales Argus: Dragons boss Dean RyanDragons boss Dean Ryan

The Dragons haven’t found a magic money tree but have shifted their approach in a bid to use their funds more wisely and cut wastage.

They have so far signed seven players and there is at least one more arrival to come. The released list has not yet been put out but it will be a long one in a summer of change.

Sadly Jonah Holmes, who arrived with such hope for Wales recognition after talks with Wayne Pivac, will head for the exit after a frustrating two years.

Jamie Roberts, Richard Hibbard and Tavis Knoyle have already gone, plenty from the fringes who have appearances tallies in single digits will leave for new challenges and signings that haven’t worked out will be moved on.

The first six new boys – Ospreys loosehead Rhodri Jones, Ulster hooker Bradley Roberts, locks Sean Lonsdale and George Nott from Exeter and London Irish, Clermont fly-half JJ Hanrahan and Bath centre Max Clark – all got the thumbs up.

Jones and Roberts have the desire of forcing their way into the Wales fold in World Cup year, Lonsdale, Nott and Clark could all make that step up further down the line if they produce the goods in club rugby while Hanrahan is an experienced operator who should fire up Sam Davies and share the burden at 10.

The seventh signing was the glamorous one, Sio Tomkinson from Super Rugby.

The New Zealander should add a bit of stardust to the backline and add some of the physicality that the Dragons have lacked.

For all Harlequins’ dashing play, Andre Esterhuizen hits hard and gets them over the gain line. Tomkinson could play a similar role.

The aim of this recruitment drive is to reduce the drop-off in quality from Dragons outside Test windows to Dragons during the autumn and Six Nations.

Despite a desire to avoid international clashes with club fixtures, the hectic schedule makes avoiding them tough in the URC.

South Wales Argus: SIGNING: George Nott is heading to the Dragons from London IrishSIGNING: George Nott is heading to the Dragons from London Irish

The absence of Wales players should no longer lead to the panic button being hit; Ryan’s squad should be more resilient next season with the names ranked second on the depth chart a lot closer to those at the top.

It will be a more concentrated squad and that carries risk should an area of the team be hit by an injury crisis.

The hope is that versatility can help on that front – Londsale and Nott could be beefy back rowers, Tomkinson has been used on the wing – and the Dragons will head into next season will greater expectations, even if the rest of the URC continues to improve.

All of the players currently on the books have either been signed or retained by Ryan and now the boss has added to that with quality and experience.

All seven are established professionals and nobody is a punt making the step up from the English Championship or another club’s second string.

The Dragons are still here and their strong recruitment drive could well have convinced a few more frustrated punters to give them one more chance.

With good signings comes more pressure, just ask Bernard Jackman, who lasted just a few more months after bringing in Ross Moriarty, Jordan Williams, Rhodri Williams, Richard Hibbard and Brandon Nansen.

For all the understandable grumbling about budget constraints, Ryan’s fourth year must be one of real progress with the talent he has at his disposal.

It is unrealistic to expect the Dragons to be challengers but it is reasonable to expect a heck of a lot more than we have got this season.