Joel Thompson: NRL Rugby League - Round 1 - St.George-Illawarra Dragons V Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Sunday the 9th of March 2014. Digital Image by Robb Cox nrlphotos.com

Thompson: Excited By Derby

St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson is eager to run out for his first local derby in the Red V against local rivals the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla on Saturday.

The Forbes Magpies junior believes the Red-and-Whites have prepared well and is confident in his team mates’ abilities.

Thompson, who has started twice off the interchange since the competition commenced a fortnight ago, is excited to be part of the rivalry having seen exhanges between both team’s fans on social media in recent days.

“You have to keep a level head in the NRL, it’s a high quality sport and we just have to focus on the weekend and go out there and get the job done,” said Thompson.

“I get the feeling, particularly from fans on Twitter and our supporters that it’s going to be a big match, and that there is quite a rivalry there.

“I dare say they will be firing after last weekend, they’re a quality side and will be wanting to get out there and hit back.

“We’re working hard every week and we’re doing everything right to get there and to compete against those top sides.

“We’ve been doing plenty of work in preparation for the weekend and the boys are all ready to get out on the park.

“We’re very lucky to have such quality halves in Gareth, Sammy Williams and Witty and we’ve all been working hard to get our plays right.

“People have asked me ‘are you upset about being on the bench’ but honestly it’s not something that bothers me.

“I just want to do my part for the team and I know I have to bide my time, train hard every week and put my hand up when I can to play as many minutes as possible.

“It’s really good, it’s been a nice lifestyle change. The boys become like family and the club is really great.

“It’s pretty relaxing around Wollongong, I get to the beach or the pool most days when I can.”