By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra back-rower Joel Thompson has revealed he was rushed to hospital just days out from the start of the season after his corked glute failed to stop bleeding internally.
Missing out on his side's season-opener against the Storm a fortnight ago, Thompson told NRL.com he was laid up at home for eight days following his hospital visit after being hit twice in the area during a training drill.
Thompson's trip to the hospital saw his leg drained, which he described as "torture".
"By game day I couldn't get it drained out enough so it was a bit of a nightmare. It was disappointing and it was the worse timing ever but I just got on with it," Thompson said.
"It's come good now but at the time it was torture. I couldn't do anything for about eight days. I just laid there. It was absolutely hell and to then not play Round 1. I was heartbroken."
Fully recovered now, Thompson has buried the disappointment of missing Round 1 and was instead buoyed by the Dragons' efforts in the club's two-point victory over South Sydney last weekend.
However the 27-year-old was not getting ahead of himself when asked if the Red V's win could spark a winning streak like the one they enjoyed last season following their first win of the season in Round 3.
"It was good to finally do everything we have worked hard for in the pre-season and what we speak about during the week. It was a matter of getting the little things right so it was a satisfying win," Thompson said.
"It was tough and against a great side so it was good to come away with a result. We're not getting ahead of ourselves though. We just need to keep working hard and head into games with our heads on."
Meanwhile Thompson will use the experience of playing his former Raiders teammates in seasons past when he comes up against former Dragon Trent Merrin on Sunday night.
"It'll be good. A lot of us are friends there with Mez and it was sad to see him go but he had to do what was best for him. We're professionals though and we'll just get on with the job," Thompson said.
"You treat every game as any other. I'm the same when I go back and play Canberra. A lot of them are my mates but it's just a game of footy at the end of the day.
"You just have to treat it that way. I personally don't get caught up in the emotion of it at all."