St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper is glad the squad is back to near full-strength ahead of the match against the Melbourne Storm at McLean Park, Napier on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites have been pummelled in recent weeks by various injuries throughout the squad, including the forward-pack, but welcome back a host of players including second-row duo Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson.
Cooper is adamant that the squad is now focused on reclaiming the intensity which was lost due to these injuries and is keen to help get the season back on track.
“It was good to have the majority of the forward-pack back on the field training this week as a few of them have been out for various reasons,” said Cooper.
“We have all been able to complete our full-contact sessions which is what we had become famous for earlier on in the season and something that we now hope to return to with everyone at full strength.
“It’s been more than people missing games these past few weeks but guys missing training as well which is vitally important.
“Despite the loss against the Rabbitohs there were still a lot of positives to take out of the game including the fact we weren’t far off matching them until the 73rd minute when they were simply smarter with the ball and executed a lot better.
“Due to the injuries there has been a lot of chopping and changing with the team and the guys that were called in to play have done a really good job.
“However, having both Joel Thompson and Tyson Frizell available now makes a big difference to the side and they offer tackle breaks and can play the full 80 minutes.
“Having them play the entire game means we have a bit more flexibility with our interchange so we can get back to the familiar make-up of the team.”