Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard is not surprised former coach Anthony Griffin has St George Illawarra's forward pack firing through the middle after being written off in the pre-season.
The Dragons matched the star-studded Knights pack for yardage in last week's win in Newcastle despite just 46 percent possession and six fewer sets - an area many expected them to struggle in following the loss of Tyson Frizell.
Griffin was the coach when Campbell-Gillard signed a mammoth five-year contract extension at the Panthers in 2018, just a month before he parted ways with the club.
The pair have since gone their separate ways in recent years but will face each other for the first time.
Adding to the storylines, former teammate Trent Merrin, who lived with Campbell-Gillard in Sydney's west, is also now in the Red V alongside cousin Tariq Sims.
Eels v Dragons - Round 5
"Paul Vaughan is a really good mate of mine as well so it's just exciting you get to play against your mates and family," Campbell-Gillard said.
"They're playing real, hardy football and that's pretty much how 'Hook' likes to coach.
"Everything is through the middle with Hook so I'm sure our middles here at Parra will have our hands full.
"They're on a good streak at the moment, we go back home on a Sunday afternoon so it should be a good game."
The Eels will return to Bankwest Stadium on Sunday with their tails up following a 4-0 start but wary of a Dragons outfit that has surprised many in the opening month of the competition.
Campbell-Gillard said the Eels had addressed a lacklustre second half against Wests Tigers when they allowed a 24-10 lead to get cut back to 24-22 before posting two late tries.
Never give up: How the stars always stay in the game
"It was one of those games you take the two points and move on," Campbell-Gillard said.
"You give a quality team cheap and easy ball and they'll put points on you. I felt like we were taking different options too much and not showing them respect when we had the football.
"We probably lose that game [last year]. We showed in the semi-finals when we got off to a good lead and get really comfortable.
"We tried to throw the ball around more instead of building pressure and playing through the middle."