By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson believes this season’s squad is one of the closest he has been a part of in his career.
Thompson, 26, observes that the new coaching and support staff have created a culture at the Club that has everyone enjoying their football.
Now in his second year with the Dragons, the Forbes Magpies junior says that with such a big squad, the competition for a starting spot in the opening round of the season against the Melbourne Storm is bringing the best out of the players.
“Everyone’s competing for positions and pushing each other and it’s really healthy for the team,” said Thompson.
“We have a great group of boys here; we are building something special.
“We have a good culture here and all the boys are enjoying coming to training and ripping in.
“The new staff have brought their own little things to the table which the players have taken on board.
“All the boys that have come in have really fit in well.
“We are going to coffee together; we are all going to dinner… it’s probably one of the best groups I’ve been involved in.
“The pre-season has been tough though make no mistake about that.
“We are getting our structures and everything right now so we are prepared come the first round of the season.
“You want to start putting the skills into the trials and make sure you are ready to go hitting the straps Round 1.
“We have a week to go before we start getting into the trials so we have to work hard until then and we will be right to go.”