Boss Dean Ryan believes the first half display against Emirates Lions gave fans a glimpse to the future for Dragons.
The Men of Gwent finished the season on home soil with a 21-11 defeat to the South Africans.
Dragons shone in the opening 40 minutes with Rio Dyer grabbing a try and Will Reed kicking the team into the lead.
On a day of emotion as a number of players featured for a final time, the Lions upped their power game in the second half to wrap up the win.
But the first half showing gave the Director of Dragons Rugby reasons to be optimistic about the future.
“I’m sad we didn’t get chance to say goodbye to some people in a different way,” said Ryan.
“We played some really enterprising stuff in the first half, and we got a glimpse of the future with people like Will Reed.
“But for 20 minutes of the second half we saw some of our old stuff where we can’t hold power at scrum and drive.
“That’s why we must change and that is why people have to change sometimes.
“It’s hard on days like today because some of those people have been outstanding in their contribution to Dragons.
“But we can’t continue to try and build a game where we can’t compete in those areas.
“It feels like the mistakes we make are huge when they are not really,” he added.
“We should be able to survive three scrums to driving lineouts to five-metre drives. It is the story of six months not just of today.
“The first 40 minutes we saw real enterprise and towards end. It’s the way we must play.
“In young Will Reed we saw some of his real strengths and he will have learnt from that experience, because we didn’t get the field position we needed in the second half. That’s another experience for him.”
Dragons were missing Harri Keddie and Jack Dixon while Wales aces Ross Moriarty, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands. Ben Carter and Aaron Wainwright were all ruled out injury.
But the home side still produced a spirited display to earn Ryan’s plaudits.
“There was always a risk that we would be so incohesive that we couldn’t put a performance in. But I thought they did,” he said.
“Nobody looked for excuses. They got on with it and I have a huge amount of respect for those that are living in those situations and those who were drafted in late.
“Max Williams hasn’t really featured for us for two years, but he has come in, when it is his last time here, and that is a difficult challenge.
“Josh Lewis, Adam Warren, Joe Masymiw and Mesake Doge were outstanding.
“It’s difficult to do an 80-minute shift when a lot of emotion is jumping around so they deserve all the praise they get.”