Marshall: It's Up To Us Now
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Dragons halfback Benji Marshall has compared his side breaking their seven-game losing streak with a 46-24 win over the Knights on Sunday to their Round 3 victory in Canberra, labelling it the 'second wind' the club needed to reignite their season.
Throwing it back to March where the Dragons came back from 18-0 down against the Raiders to record a two-point victory, Marshall was hoping their second-half revival against Newcastle could be impetus behind a similar winning run to the one they had between Rounds 3 and 8.
Not getting ahead of himself however, Marshall said halves partner Gareth Widdop's goal kicking – where he kicked nine from nine for the second consecutive game at Kogarah's Jubilee Oval – was also imperative in the Dragons outscoring Newcastle 32-4 in the second stanza.
"It will prove to be a nice win for us on the scale of our season. It's up to us now to stay there," Marshall said.
"We didn't have the best first half. It sort of felt like Canberra all over again where they got ahead of us and we had to fight our way back into the game and steal it.
"I'm happy for the boys, who were struggling to find confidence. There were parts of that game where you could see we were lacking a bit of belief."
A game not only remembered for the Red V's comeback, Marshall's own try in the 66th minute is sure to last the distance when it comes to season 2015's highlight reel.
Throwing up an ordinary bomb for Knights fullback Kurt Gidley to contest, Widdop managed to bat the ball backwards an extra 20 metres before Marshall regathered and weaved his way downfield in troubling signs for Newcastle.
Passing it on to Widdop, the five-eighth was able to pass on to hooker Mitch Rein. Looking destined to be thrown over the sideline, Rein then produced an overhead pass for Marshall to regather over Dane Gagai to score what proved to be another try of the season contender.
"It's just one of those things. I'm just happy I scored put it that way," Marshall said.
"It couldn't have got much worse running back to the 40 [metre line] to get the ball. I managed to get away from someone and then everyone just supported up. Thankfully I got the ball back.
"We've been working on that all season – being around the ball. [Apart from the try] there were other parts of that game that probably turned it around.
"I thought Josh [Dugan's] kick-returns really helped us go forward in the second half and I thought we were a lot more direct."
Consolidating a place in the top eight leading into the final five rounds of the season thanks to their win, Dragons coach Paul McGregor meanwhile was under the belief his team were nowhere near their best.
"We can still play better than that," he said.
"There's no doubting that. The good thing was when we had four we turned it into six. Gareth's goal-kicking really shapes us and we're a team that likes to play from in front.
"We managed to do that early and score a couple of tries and then we got behind and the pleasing thing with that was we were able to come back.
"There was a lot of pleasing things to come out of the game but we're nowhere near the capability we can play."