St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson confesses his mind is fresh following the extended break courtesy of the recently allotted bye round.

The Forbes Magpies junior, alongside the entire Dragons first-grade squad, was afforded several days rest during the break  which was utilised with a quick trip to visit family and friends.

The three-time Indigenous All-Star believes the break was vital for the team to heal heading into a vigorous final eight fixtures which will decide whether the Red V claims a final’s spot.

“The body takes a big wear and tear during the NRL season and everyone gets niggling injuries so it was good to have a week off and freshen up,” said Thompson.

“For me I went to visit some family and friends which was good allowing me to freshen up too.

“We are outside the eight currently sitting ninth so we are focused on what needs to be done each week which this round is against Manly.

“They are top of the competition and will be a good challenge for us so we are training hard to match them.

“It will be a big test for us and as a player you get excited about these kind of games and out there in training everyone is working hard and putting a lot in to things.”