By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper is expecting a lively home atmosphere against the Melbourne Storm at Jubilee oval, Kogarah on Monday.
Cooper is part of a 19-man squad named by Head Coach Paul McGregor for the opening round fixture of the season which will see the Red V compete on home soil.
Cooper, who has been named on a six-man interchange, is keen to take part in the encounter having missed the World Club Series fixture due to the birth of his son.
The former Warrington Wolves player believes that particular outing against his previous Club helped instil a toughness in the squad which he expects to see on game day.
“It was a long pre-season with a few trial matches away from home, so we are looking forward to getting as many Red V fans down to Kogarah as we can,” said Cooper.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd of Red V Members and fans there and they make plenty of noise and get behind us, because they do make a big difference.
“Every game, no matter who you play, is going to be a test in round one.
“Obviously being at home, we will be pretty confident going into Monday night that we can string a good performance together and get us off to a good start.
“We are all confident in the team and the players who have been brought in.
“We have brought in a lot of experience, so we will use that to guide us into round one.
“It was a physical game against the Wolves but the boys all pulled through and it will do them well heading into the new season.
“For all of the things that were going against them and to pull through with limited interchanges at the end of the second half, it shows some real character and real toughness that will help us into the season.”