St George Illawarra Dragons prop Russell Packer expects a battle through the middle against the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites enter the encounter north of the state line on the back of a nail-biting two-point win over the Penrith Panthers last round which Packer admits is a testament to the character of the team.
Packer notes that the upcoming tussle with the reigning Premiers will be a big challenge for both he and his teammates but expects it to be won by whoever has the stronger forward-pack on the night.
“The Cowboys have quality coming from all over the park so the challenge is there for us but individually I will need to perform at our best to help contribute to any win,” said Packer.
“Their forwards are both Australia internationals so they are the cream of the crop so it will be a good challenge for both Leeson and I.
“Just like any game, it comes down to that forward battle and who wins it so it’s a good challenge for us and we’re ready.
“We have a tough stretch coming up against the three Queensland teams which will be a big challenge but we’re up for it.
“It will be an opportunity for the team to come together and bond which is important and help set-up our season coming into the middle part of the season.
“It was good to get another win out there despite it being a close one but we kept our composure.
“The crowd was pretty rowdy and made a lot of noise and it was great to play in front of them.
“We dropped our first two games but I think we’ve come back well and shown what we are about defensively as we play for one another.”