St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson is excited by the upcoming bloc of pre-season trial fixtures headlined by the annual NRL Al-Stars fixture at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday, February 13.
The five-time NRL Indigenous All-Star is keen to test the body in a competitive outing having overcome a niggling hamstring problem which sporadically deterred his game time towards the backend of last season.
The NSW Country Origin representative will get additionally get valuable minutes in the opening pre-season trial against the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls at Pinklands Oval, Redlands on Saturday, February 6.
“I’m looking forward to getting some match fitness and it’ll be a good trial for both Gareth Widdop and myself before we head into respective All-Star camps,” said Thompson.
“Instead of travelling to the NRL Nines the fixture against the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls will help me when travelling into NRL Indigenous camp.
“I am expecting a good competitive hit-out and it’ll be just what I need to shake any cobwebs.
“Being named in the NRL Indigenous All-Stars is a massive honour and this team is special, especially to the Indigenous boys.
“It’s a great concept and a special one for our people too.
“It’s a kind of gathering for everyone and a great week for us all to get out into the community and visit both schools and other organisations.
“Both games will serve to see where the body is at as its feeling really well at the moment.
“I know now that I needed time off with my hamstring as at the time I kept pushing myself a bit too much.
“I’ve been able to learn a lot from that so going forward now I haven’t missed a session this pre-season training and things are going well.
“Hopefully things continue that way between now and that first whistle.”