Cooper: We Are A Fit Team

Cooper: We Are A Fit Team

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper is impressed by the level of the team’s fitness ahead of the local derby against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Shark Park, Cronulla on Sunday.

The NRL reduced the number of interchanges from 10 to eight ahead of the new campaign which the Red-and-Whites experiences for the first time in the narrow 18-16 loss to the Melbourne Storm in their opening round fixture last round

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The England international believes he and his teammates were well adapted to this but laments losing the two valuable competition points despite commanding an early 10-point lead early on.

“We are very balanced across the weight of the 17 players selected for the game,” said Cooper.

“We are a pretty fit side and we have a lot of middles who can play long minutes and the same middles that want to play longer minutes.

“I think it will take a couple of weeks for teams to get their interchange systems right and have a proper structure in place but it won’t affect us.

“Like I said, we are a very fit side in the pack so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

“I think we threw the game away if I was to be honest.

“We started well against the Storm who I think are the best starting side in the competition and we put all our energy into the opening 20 minutes and blew them apart.

“Unfortunately, we let a few errors and penalties get on top of us and made some poor defensive misses.

“We did show some good signs by getting back into the game but we should have buried it earlier on while being 10-points up.

“We can only learn from that and take a lot of confidence from it.”

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