DRAGONS coach Paul McGregor hasn't tapped Paul Vaughan on the shoulder for a private chat this week - he doesn't need to.
A Test and Origin incumbent, Vaughan has been the club's most consistent performer over the past three seasons, earning NSW and Australian jumpers along the way.
The 29-year-old has been monstrous in two vital wins on the bounce, running for 195 metres from 18 carries last week and a whopping 204 metres from 19 carries against the Sharks a week earlier.
It's played no small part in turning around a dismal start for his side and his contribution will only become more important following the departure of James Graham just a week ahead of arguably the toughest stretch of the season.
Now in his eighth season, he's played 50 more games than fellow forwards Blake Lawrie, Jacob Host, Josh Kerr and Jackson Ford - combined. He'll need to go up a notch this week against the Roosters, and the game's premier forward, pack but he doesn't need reminding of that fact, from Paul McGregor or anyone else.
"We haven't talked about that we're just worrying about Friday night and playing the way we know we can," Vaughan said.
"[Graham's] had a great career so I think he's earned the right to exit or go about the end of his career the way he wants. We've got some good kids coming through at the moment so obviously, with James leaving, there's a good chance for a couple of young blokes to step up and it's a good chance for me also to be more of a leader.
"I'm not really all that vocal, I'd rather do my talking on the field, but if that's the position I have to take up I'm more than happy to do that. I'll just take it as it comes.
"The boys have got good confidence after those past two games. We're putting little things in place where we want to improve each week which we're doing and it's a great test for us on Friday night.
"We're going up against the champs this week which is exciting. You want to play the best and if you want to make a dent in this comp you need to win these big games so the boys are looking forward to the challenge."
Roosters lock Victor Radley has been arguably the form forward of the competition since it resumed, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho are widely regarded as the best front-row pair in the competition.
It's a daunting prospect for any side but Vaughan said it's something he's looking forward to.
"As a front-rower you want to go up against the best and Siosiua and Jared are quality," Vaughan said.
"Siosiua I really rate very highly as a player, Radley's going pretty well too. It's very exciting to put myself up against that kind of pack, you relish those chances to come up against quality opposition.
"You find a bit out about yourself and you just want to put your best foot forward and that's what I'll be looking to do on Friday. We've got a belief in ourselves here that we're preparing like we know we can and we're improving little bits in our game we want to get better at.
"We're pretty comfortable with our 17 at the moment, we've got a little roll on, so it gives us and opportunity to put ourselves up against the best. We're getting better but we have a lot of improving to do as well so it's a great test against the Chooks."