Dragon Graham to meet former Dogs mates

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A month after breaking bread with his former Canterbury teammates, now James Graham will be out to break them for good.

Graham will meet his old club for the first time when St George Illawarra visit the Bulldogs in their annual Queen’s birthday clash at ANZ Stadium on Monday.

It comes after the Dragons star recently had dinner with a handful of ex-teammates, including Aiden Tolman, Matt Frawley and Rhyse Martin.

“We all caught up for dinner down where they live (in the Shire). We all stay in touch, we’re always mates,” Martin said of their catch-up.

“He supported me a lot while he was here. I caught up with him about a month ago. Pretty excited to come up against him.”

Graham quickly established himself as one of the premier front-rowers in the NRL when he joined the Bulldogs from the Super League and played in their 2012 and 2014 grand finals.

He played 135 games across six seasons at Belmore, where he was made captain from the 2014 decider until he was pushed out of the club last year due to salary cap pressures.

He is renowned as one of the most passionate players in the game, a quality Martin believes will be on show on Sunday.

“No matter who he’s playing for, he’s going to give it 110 per cent, and maybe 120 against us. He’ll definitely want to prove a point,” Martin said.

“Playing against your old teammates, it’s a weird feeling going into the week. I’m not too sure how he’s going to come out, but I think he’ll try and put on a bit of a show physically.”

Centre Will Hopoate said it wasn’t a surprise to see Graham quickly become a leader at the Dragons, who are widely considered a premiership threat.

While the Dragons are equal on 20 points with ladder leaders Penrith but second on percentages, the Bulldogs are second last with just three wins so far.

Another defeat would leave them having to win all their remaining 11 games to reach the traditional 30-point mark needed to make the finals.

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