The loss smacked of a team who simply didn't want to be there, particularly after halftime, when the Red V conceded 36 points in 40 minutes, scoring only six of their own as a Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown inspired team put the cleaners through the joint venture.
But it wasn't just that - Blind Freddy could see there were issues coming from the Dragons from the moment reports about baffling team changes surfaced on Saturday evening, a little more than 24 hours before kick-off.
Various media outlets reported besieged coach Anthony Griffin was set to drop Tyrell Sloan outright so that he could go and work on his game in the NSW Cup, while Talatau Amone was set to be moved back to the bench.
24 hours out from kick-off though and Sloan was still named as part of the 19-man squad, while all indications remained - apart from those in the media - that Amone was going to run out in the halves alongside Ben Hunt.
Fast forward to an hour before kick-off though and the changes became real, with Sloan, one of the game's best up and coming fullbacks, dropped from the side, and Amone playing from the bench, from where he had no impact other than a missed tackle after coming on with less than 20 minutes remaining.
In their place?
Now, all the credit those players deserve, but Mbye is a bench utility at this point in his career, and even at his best, in the middle of his prime, he was never what might be considered a superstar fullback.
Bird, on the other hand, has started the year like a house on fire at second-row. So well has he been playing, he has kept Tariq Sims to a new role in the number 13 jersey since the New South Wales Origin forward, who will exit the Dragons for a yet to be named club at the end of the season, returned from an off-season injury which kept him out of the Dragons Round 1 win - and their only one of the season thus far - against the New Zealand Warriors.
Those two changes alone defied belief all things considered.
Sloan and Amone started the season strongly as part of a winning team against the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast, before they were involved in a tight loss to the Penrith Panthers during Round 2, where the game turned heavily on a controversial at best sin bin to boom second-rower Jaydn Su'a.
The performance against Penrith, who are the defending premiers, was hardly a cause for concern at the Dragons, particularly given the way they hit back in the second half to bring themselves back to a chance of taking the chocolates.
Then came a horrid evening in Wollongong against the Cronulla Sharks, but even that was played in hurricane-like conditions - seriously, it was raining sideways for most of the 80 minutes.
They also encountered the Nicho Hynes show, as he guided the Sharks to a monster win over the arch-rivals.
While that clash was, as mentioned, a cause for concern, it should have been dealt with some minor words of encouragement at training during the week, rather than two changes to the spine.
Now, if there was a genuinely better option than Sloan, it might have made sense, but to place Mbye at fullback who realistically made very little difference, and to weaken the forward pack by playing Bird in the halves, made no sense.
More concerningly, it smacked of a coach going into panic mode during only the fourth round of the season.
If someone like Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bennett or Trent Robinson brought in a youngster who underperformed, or even just wasn't quite at their best for a week, as Sloan and Amone were, you can bet your bottom dollar they wouldn't be asking them to find their way in reserve grade, unless there were genuine, widely acknowledged problems.
While Sloan does need to improve his work in defence and off the ball, and Amone is going to end up in a battle for his jersey with Jayden Sullivan, neither of those were reasons to make changes as they did this early into the season.
At any rate, changes of that nature required a monstrous turnaround from the Dragons - but the only turnaround they provided was one in the wrong direction as the Parramatta Eels went within a whisker of running up a half-century.
It's more than just that single decision that is problematic for Griffin though, with off-season recruitment of multiple forwards who are passed their best a cause for concern, the apparent lack of game plan at either end of the park, and the problems stemming from his coaching staff.
It wasn't Griffin's fault the club extended his contract by invoking an option for 2023, but boy did it make absolutely zero sense, and staring down the barrel of a potentially one and six start to the season with the Rabbitohs, Knights and Roosters on the menu in the next three weeks, it'll make even less sense.
That said, Griffin isn't the only one who needs to be removed from the joint venture if the club are to undergo wholesale changes which could turn them around.
It has to be reminded here that the Dragons have had no real success since Wayne Bennett left the joint venture, and that while there have been some changes behind the scene, extending Griffin's contract seemed to only be following the same mistake the club made with Paul McGregor by extending his far too easy, only to turn around and sack him less than halfway through the following season.
The decision to extend Griffin's contract before a ball was kicked defied belief after recording just eight wins from 24 games last year and narrowly escaping the bottom four.
The people making decisions at the clubs simply aren't up to scratch or seem to understand the NRL all that well, and nor are the recruitment department who made some baffling decisions over the off-season, although the impact Shane Flanagan's arrival will have here is yet to be seen.
If it was eyebrow-raising off-season, it might be overlooked, but it's not the first. It has happened time and time again. whether that be under Steve Price, McGregor, or now Griffin since the days of Bennett came to an end at the club.
Still, when Ben Hunt has been undoubtedly the best player on-field in a losing side for the last three weeks, and not one forward (apart from Tariq Sims who made 102 metres) made more than 100 metres against the Eels, questions have to be asked over every single part of the club and playing group.
Fans are fed up and have had enough, as this reply chain to the club's (non-official) podcast only illustrates too well.
Spineless, soulless, pathetic, shambolic, embarrassing, stain on this once famous jersey. When you think they can’t stoop any lower they serve up this. This club doesn’t deserve this fan base. A constant disappointment. Slow, lazy, boring, soft performance. Thanks #redv
— Red V Podcast (@RedVPodcast1) April 3, 2022
While certain members of the backroom staff simply have to go, the players can't shirk from their responsibility, and as mentioned, when only one forward made more than 100 metres against the Eels, to go with a pathetic defensive performance, it's hard and bordering on impossible to heap praise in any direction.
Take Blake Lawrie for example - cult hero as he might be, he ran just 23 metres from three carries in more than 40 minutes. As a starting prop, that is unacceptable and well beyond that. He was, unfortunately though, the worst of a bad, bordering on horrendous, bunch.
The team has a whole missed a ridiculous 40 tackles, and while all the credit in the world needs to be heaped on Parramatta for their unbelievable attacking performance, they were aided by lazy and downright ordinary defence from the Dragons.
Griffin's decision making leaves plenty to be desired even if he isn't the one missing tackles and making errors, but as has been mentioned, he isn't the only one, and the only way for this once proud club to turn things around is to put a broom through the place and start again.
That starts with the head and works its way down, but change is needed.