By Mary Maidiotis
St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Benji Marshall admits it will be ‘just another game’, when he faces Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday.
The New Zealand international, who joined the Dragons midway through lasts season, will come up against his former team for only the second time and is focused on doing his part to clinch two vital competition-points for the Red V.
Marshall, 30, is part of a 19-man squad named by Head Coach Paul McGregor for the upcoming fixture and hopes the lessons learnt from the 12-4 loss to the Melbourne Storm will be applied come kick-off.
The halfback accepted that the team still has a few things to work on in training in the build-up to the match but took a lot of positives out of the Storm clash, including the exciting debuts of winger Eto Nabuli and prop Rory O’Brien.
“I thought the two had great debuts, Eto probably had a lot more game time which allowed him to show everyone what he is capable of,” said Marshall.
“He’s still learning the game but I get the feeling he’s going to be a cult figure at the Club, the fans really seem to love him.
“I think if Rory had a bit more time on the field, he could have done a bit more, but considering the limited time he did have, he did a great job.
“It’s disappointing not to come away with a win, especially after the offseason we had and all the work we put in, but it is just round one and it is early, so we’ve still got a lot of things to work on.
“I believe our defence was pretty rock solid for the most part, it was our attack that was the problem but I don’t feel it’s going to be too hard to get back.
“I don’t think I played too bad either, my first-half kicking game was pretty solid but I probably let myself down a bit in the second-half.
“When you are chasing points, you tend to do things that you wouldn’t normally do, so I think if we weren’t chasing, I would have had a better game.
“Melbourne were obviously prepared for the shape we were going to throw at them and we’ve got to address that and play a lot more direct and a lot flatter, but it won’t take us long to sort that out.
“It’s only round one; it’s funny how people make judgments on how the season will go after just one round and I’m certain the other seven teams who lost over the weekend will agree.
“I’m not sure if it’s a hangover from going overseas but the energy we displayed during our trial matches against the Rabbitohs and Warrington, wasn’t there last night.
“You would expect with the amount of possession we had to score a lot more points and we just didn’t do that, so we’ve still got a bit of work to do but it’s a long season and our next task comes on Monday against the Tigers.
“Last year was probably hard to play against them for the first time but now it’s just another game for me.
“I feel like I’m a St George Illawarra player through and through so I just want to get a win and do my job for the team.”