St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson is expecting a tough encounter against a gritty Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina on Sunday.

The Forbes Magpies junior is under no illusion that the Red V need to start scraping a few wins together if they are to contest Finals Series football at season’s end and their upcoming opposition will prove a strong test of their ambitions.

The 25-year-old is additionally looking forward to being reunited with NSW representative duo Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin for the encounter when the pair return to training on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a test for us up at the Gold Coast, we’ve been working really hard but it’s about putting in the 80 minutes, doing our best, and getting the result,” said Thompson.

“It’ll be a tough road trip up there but we’re all looking forward to it.

“We’re trying hard and working hard, we’re doing all the little things right but we need to continue that form over the next few games and get the results.

“We definitely see ourselves with a chance of getting in the top eight before the Finals; we just have to string some wins together and we’ll get there.

“The Titans are a really good side and they have some big guys across the paddock, they also have a few guys coming back from rep duty as do we.

“It’s going to be a tough game; we can’t take any game easy and we’ll make sure we’re ready to go on Sunday.

“We haven’t heard if the guys from Origin will be back in the side for the clash against the Titans, but if they pull up okay I’m sure they will play.

“Origin II was a very physical game so their return will depend on how their bodies are but we would like them back, they stood up, played hard and played well.

“Personally, I’m enjoying being back in the back row, I really love it there; it’s my position and Paul McGregor put me back there straight away.

“I’m still working on the little things in my game that I need to fix, but every week I’m looking to improve.”