IT'S the rugby league equivalent of shooting Bambi, but the Dragons have no problem playing the villain when they resume their season against the Warriors next weekend.
Typically most people's second team, the Warriors have become the definite sentimental favourites after shifting back and forth across the Tasman, away from family, in order to get the NRL season back up and running.
They're also dealing with an injury toll so heavy the likes of Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen and Billy Slater have offered to reboot their careers if they require local reinforcements.
It makes even a shortened season an uphill battle for a club not known for its mental fortitude. The sacrifice isn't lost on Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims, a noted a family man, but he insists his side will have just as much at stake come round three.
"I think everyone's got a soft spot for the Warriors because without them the competition might not have gone ahead," Sims said.
"The way the competition is now everyone's going to be desperate but the sacrifices the Warriors have made are unspeakable. To leave their families and be away from loved ones, partners, wives, girlfriends and kids... all credit goes to them.
"Everyone's going to feel for them but it's no secret our fans are pretty vocal [as well] so we need to put our best foot forward as a club. We really need to step up and set the tone of where we want to be as a club and as a team going forward.
"We're desperate, every win's going to count, every point's going to count and it's going to be a really, tricky season. We need to be ready to jump at the gun coming into round three."
The Dragons will face the Bulldogs in round four, with the remainder of the draw still be released. That will reveal the fuller picture, but it's certainly more favourable than the task before them when the competition was halted.
After dropping their first two games, the Dragons were looking at the Raiders, Eels, Rabbitohs, Roosters and Storm in a daunting six-week stretch.
Back at full-strength, the Dragons will now start favourites in their next two outings but halfback Ben Hunt said it's no cause to breathe easier.
"I wasn't licking my lips at all," Hunt said.
"I looked at the Warriors first and that's going to be a massive challenge, they've sacrificed a helluva lot to come over here and be part of this.
"I don't think they're going to come out and rollover for anyone, they're going to be hungry to win and show they're here to prove a point.
"The Bulldogs might not be as stacked as some other teams but they're a really gritty side and no one's going to go out an blow them away.
"You've got to earn every point you get so they're going to be two really tough challenges."
The Dragons could easily have been 2-0 having led against the Tigers and Penrith over the opening two rounds only to be run down.
Hunt said he and halves partner Corey Norman will need to be better at closing the show, with no room for error on an 18-game run to the finish.
"We're always looking at things we need to get better at and that's one thing we definitely took out of those first two games, we need to be better at closing out games," Hunt said.
"It's definitely something we've both looked at and we've been working pretty hard on since we've been back."