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Before the Dragons kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday night, here are five things to keep in mind during the game.

Home sweet home

The Dragons will set up camp at Wollongong's WIN Stadium for the next three games.  Just two of their last seven matches have been played in front of a home crowd making this string of home matches a welcomed bonus.

Rounds 16 and 17 will see the Dragons host the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders, two teams they are yet to face this season. With a 63 per cent win percentage at WIN Stadium, the Dragons will be looking reaffirm the mantra of fortress Wollongong.

Full circle

The start of the season is just a distant memory after a strenuous year, but the match against the Cowboys will see the Dragons come full circle and line up against their Round 1 opponents.

The Dragons opened the season up in Townsville against a fresh-faced Cowboys line-up in humid tropical conditions. With temperatures upwards of 30 degrees and the humidity causing headaches, the Dragons couldn’t handle the red-hot Cowboys who won 24-12.

After 14 rounds the two sides face off again but this time on Dragons turf in a much-better conditioned WIN Stadium.

Lats' 50th again

Jeremy Latimore returns to the side in what will be his 50th Dragons appearance if he takes the field.  Latimore reached the milestone at the Penrith Panthers in 2015. However, before his time at Penrith, 'Lats' played 14 games at the Dragons in 2012 before re-joining the Red V in 2018.

Full rep contingent

While other teams haven't been as lucky on the representative injury front, all seven Dragons players involved with their respective representative teams last weekend have been named to face the Cowboys.

Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims, Paul Vaughan, Ben Hunt and Corey Norman all returned from Perth after a wet-and-wild State of Origin clash and are set to play.

Korbin Sims and Mikaela Ravalawa pulled up injury free from representing their home country of Fiji. Keep an eye on how the rep players return to club footy following some hard-fought and confident-boosting matches.

Drinkwater joins Cowboys

Highly-regarded speedster Scott Drinkwater will make his debut for the North Queensland Cowboys after joining the club on Monday.

Hailing from New South Wales's Central Coast, Drinkwater joined the Melbourne Storm feeder system in 2016 before managing one game for them in 2018, scoring a try in their 22-16 loss to the Penrith Panthers.

With just five days to settle into Cowboys colours, Drinkwater is a big unknown for the Dragons given his important role at fullback. There's no doubt Drinkwater will want to hit the ground running in his first outing.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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