After defeats in their opening three games – despite a number of positives from those matches, Raiders won a thriller 50-45 at Fylde, who had won their first three games, on Saturday.
Dawson’s side now have eight points from four games, double the target Raiders’ coach had set, and he said: “We had a meeting last week with the players and it was a bit of a Eureka moment.
“We said that being in this division just wanting to learn and compete is not enough as we’re better than that.
“We’re not here just to compete and survive, we’re here to win games. After four games, my target was four points and we’ve doubled that and ran in 19 tries as well.
“We should have beaten Blackheath and Wharfedale earlier in the season as well and we competed against Doncaster, but we just needed to have that belief that we can win games in this division and we now have that.
“There was proper elation for the players after the game and, in a way, it felt better than winning the play-off game against Stourbridge last season.
“That win was more about relief, while this win means we can now start to believe in ourselves that we can win games at this level.”
Raiders entertain Loughborough Students at Roundstone Lane on Saturday (3pm) and Dawson is expecting another entertaining game.
He said: “Fylde was the first time a team has played us at our own game this season and Loughborough will also play the same game as us. The Fylde fixture was a dress rehearsal for this game and it should be an exciting match.
“It’s also Ladies Day at the club, with a big function on, so there will be a big crowd and we’re looking forward to it.”