St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson believes the team can rekindle much needed momentum with a positive effort against the Melbourne Storm at McLean Park, Napier on Saturday.
Head Coach Paul McGregor has named a travelling 19-man squad for the encounter which features a near full-strength side following a glut of injuries plaguing the team.
Thompson, who himself returned from a hamstring strain last round, admits recent setbacks to the availability of several players has dampened momentum which in turn has caused the team to drop valuable points in recent weeks.
The NSW Country Origin representative knows the team must return to their defensive ways if they are to halt the slide and that he and his teammates are up to the challenge.
“We spoke about it through the pre-season wanting to make our defence our own identity and we showed exactly this throughout the year leading up to recent weeks,” said Thompson.
“We’ve had various reasons for why the team has not been settled these past few weeks with some players involved in State of Origin while others, including myself, being out because of injury.
“It’s good now that we are back to near full-strength and have everyone available to build some momentum leading into these final few weeks.
“We’ve been smashing each other up at training and that’s what it’s about, being physical and ruthless, and getting back to those standards once again.
“We will need to have that on display against the Storm who won’t be any pushovers.
“They have some world-class players at their disposal representing them but these are the challenges that players like Tyson Frizell and myself look forward to.
“The Storm are presently near the top of the ladder so it will be exciting to go out there and be able to test yourselves against them.”