The Robins went into the game in wretched form on the back of three tame losses, including a crushing Challenge Cup semi-final experience.
But Rovers were much improved against the high-flying Dragons, racing into an 8-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes.
KR were ultimately overpowered but Smith was keen to focus on the positives after a step in the right direction.
"We can take loads," he said.
"I thought we were very spirited and had a little bit more enterprise in our play.
"There was loads to praise. They were courageous in terms of the amount of time some of them stayed on the field.
"It was a bit of a war of attrition against a big team. They did, they wore us down.
"They wore a team [Warrington] down last week and smashed them. Our guys hung on there right through to the death."
Rovers have two weeks to recover from a fourth straight defeat, a timely break with Smith's squad stretched by injuries to key men.
The Robins lost Dean Hadley and Will Dagger to head knocks during Saturday's game, which Smith felt made their task impossible.
"They're a hard team to play against full stop when you've got a full 17 available to you," he said.
"We weren't in that position. We lost Dean Hadley fairly early on in the game and then we had two others go to the head bin for assessments.
"Matt Storton returned but I'm not sure he was quite right. He passed his test so we did.
"We lost Will Dagger so with about 25 minutes to go we had one sub available to us.
"The knock-on effect it has is some of those players who need interchanging have to stay on there longer. That's what happened today.
"That's not excuse-making to say we would have won otherwise. Even with 17 it's tough work against them."