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Bailey and Ryles to go head-to-head

By Steve Jancetic 14/03/2007 07:25:10 PM Comments (0)

Once were friends, now are combatants.

Former St George Illawarra teammates Luke Bailey and Jason Ryles came head-to-head at the NRL season launch on the Gold Coast, posing for photos at Q1 residential complex on the holiday strip.

It was the first time they have got together since Bailey made the trip north to join the Titans.

For so long the backbone of the Dragons pack, Ryles and Bailey will go up against each other in Sunday's historic clash between the Dragons and Titans at Suncorp Stadium, the first time they have done so since their junior football days.

"It hasn't sunk in that we're going to play each other, it just feels like we're catching up like we always do," Bailey said.

"We still talk to each other all the time, we're on the phone every second or third day.

"It will be weird trying to fire up against them, but I'm not usually the 'fire up' sort of character.

"It's just a pity some of the other guys like (injured Dragons) Gaz (Mark Gasnier), Deano (Dean Young) and Justin Poore, aren't there."

But don't look for either player to try and put an extra big hit on the other, both with too much respect for the other to try anything sinister.

"I'll just go out there and try and do my job," Bailey said.

"If I try and do something different I'll probably end up on my arse."

Ryles said his decision not to try and target Bailey came from personal experience.

"I've seen plenty of people try and do it and they just bounce off Bails," Ryles said.

"He's just too good a player to try something like that.

"I'm just looking forward to Sunday because I know how good a player he is and it's a good challenge.

"We do have a bit of a bond but it will be different this weekend because he's in the opposition."

While the two former Test props won't go looking for each other, one man definitely in Bailey sights is best mate Matt Cooper.

The two have been friends since their junior days with Shellharbour on the NSW south coast, but a new rule change brought in by the NRL this seeing has Bailey licking his lips.

"I like (the new rule), the tap (after a penalty) is now taken 20 metres infield, it will give me a direct path straight at him, and I'll be able to run straight at him," Bailey said with a laugh.

"He'll probably put me on my arse but I'll keep running at him."

Ryles said he was completely over the hand and groin injuries which saw him miss the Dragons two trial matches and confirmed he would be a definite starter on Sunday.

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