St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper admits there are several sore bodies ahead of the match against the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta on Saturday.
The Dragons are in the midst of a short training program ahead of the match and are nursing several casualties as a result of the narrow 19-14 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Allainz Stadium, Moore Park on Monday.
Dragons captain Ben Creagh (sternum), winger Jason Nightingale (ankle sprain) and centre Peter Mata’utia (ankle sprain) all suffered minor injuries from the tussle but are expected to play while Cooper, who made 61 tackles in the fixture, admits he is nursing some bruises of his own.
“It was certainly a physical game and defensively we had to do a lot of work which is a shame because it took a bit of the sting out of our attack for most part of the game,” said Cooper.
“The boys are sore but hopefully we won’t have too many serious injuries and certainly our bodies are right after the recent rest weeks.
“The first training session was a bit of a flush-out session for us and anyone with bumps and bruises will be assessed later on in the week.
“In that last ten minutes I thought we were going to bring it home and thought we could snatch the win.
“A lot of teams would have lost by ten or twenty points the amount of defence they would have had to of done in the first-half, so while it is disappointing and everyone hates losing, we aren’t too disheartened by the effort.
“Our goal line defence was outstanding and to defend like we did for a long period of time against a team who are tipped to win the competition shows a true test of character which shows how far we’ve come.
“For me, I get caught in the middle and because we didn’t have a lot of ball I was just trying to do my job.
“Parramatta currently have a lot of things going off the field so they’ll be trying to get all their frustrations out.
“I’m sure they’ll see us as coming off two defeats and try to expose that.
“We’ll have to be on our game as it’s not an easy place to go to but now that we’re back in the grind of playing week-in and week-out it should suit us.”