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Digital Image by Robb Cox © Mike Cooper :NRL Rugby League - Round 5; St George Illawarra Dragons V South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG, Saturday the 5th of April 2014.

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper believes an improved defensive effort will be key against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Monday.

The Warrington Academy junior has started all five fixtures for the Red-and-Whites since his arrival during the off-season including the 26-6 loss against the South Sydney Rabbitohs last round.

Cooper admits a combination of errors and decisions not going their way were the causes for the Red V loss but is buoyant both have been addressed in video review.

“It was pretty tough, we didn’t open very well as a middle unit so we’ll cop that on the chin and practice what we need to and be better for this week,” said Cooper.

“The penalty count in the first half really hurt us and the amount of tackles that we had to do in that first forty paid a lot of advantage for them.

“We’ve done lots of video work and we’ve hit the paddocks and we will fix things for this week.

“We just have to keep practicing and be aware of where the opposition will target us.

“There were quite a few that got in through the middle, and we’ve had a chat about that and where we need to improve to keep our goal line D solid.

“The lads have put in a fair bit of work out here on D and we’ll keep working on our game ahead of the Storm, we just need to be switched on and ready.

“That’s part of the reason why I came out here, to play against some of the best in the world, so I’ll be ready to come up against some of those bigger players like Cameron Smith and Billy (Slater).

“It’s a huge opportunity for me to test myself and see where I’m at and how I can better my game

“I always look forward to the bigger games and I enjoy the pressure, so I’ll be ready.”

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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