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The game I circle: Luke Bailey

The Titans are sweating on Luke Bailey ahead of Sunday's clash with South Sydney in Cairns after he missed Thursday training with a hip complain Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos

It's been seven years since he handed in his red-and-whites for the light blue and gold of the Gold Coast but veteran Titans prop Luke Bailey says there is still something special about facing the Dragons.

Ben Creagh and Brett Morris are the only remaining former teammates from the 2006 St George Illawarra team but Bailey says the clash with his former club and a match-up with the defending premiers are the games he most looks forward to when the draw is announced.

"Even though I haven't got many mates still there now, being an old Dragons boy I always like having a run against them and keep an eye out for them," Bailey told NRL.com. "After that it's probably whoever won the grand final the previous year. They're always the games where you want to try and test yourself and this year the Roosters were the most dominant team in the competition by far.

"The Dragons have a good supporter base up here so they generally bring a good crowd, as do the Warriors, Broncs and Cowboys. There are four games off the top of my head that generally do produce a good crowd and hopefully that will be the same again this year.

"Any game that generates a big crowd is a good game to play in."

Matt Cooper, Jason Ryles, Ben Hornby and Dean Young have all retired in the past four years so while the pre-match banter between mates may be missing, the feeling will still be there when the Dragons arrive at the Gold Coast this season.

"I speak to 'Coops' on a regular basis and we'd have a bit of a go at each other before the games but Benny Hornby, Dean Young and Matt Cooper were the last remaining blokes I used to hang out with.

"So they're all gone but there's still that passion there and connection with the team."

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