By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
He won a grand final, the Golden Boot as the world's best player and a World Cup for New Zealand during his time at the Wests Tigers, but now-Dragons halfback Benji Marshall said he is chasing "something big" at the Red V following their 32-30 golden point win over the Tigers themselves on Saturday.
With St George Illawarra finals-bound for the first time since 2011, Marshall spoke of the relief that has consumed him knowing his own three-year finals drought also ends.
Describing the clean slate the finals bring, Marshall was happy his club were able to achieve their goal of making the top eight under coach Paul McGregor
"It’s a relief to get there. All the worries and thoughts about getting through the semis are aside and you’re just worried about playing your first game. Whoever that may be you know it’s going to be a tough game and you have to step up," Marshall said.
"You don't want to just limp in there but the season we've had we should take some confidence out of making the finals. This time last year we were planning Mad Monday.
"A lot of our team haven't been [in the finals] before. Once you get there it’s so exciting and fresh. 26 weeks is a long time, it's very easy to be tired and have niggling injuries but when the semis come those injuries go away.
"I did everything at the Tigers but I've done nothing since I've been at the Dragons. I want to do something at the Dragons – something big."
Marshall was happy that many have written off the Dragons too, considering they only just managed to beat Penrith a fortnight ago and the Wests Tigers by two points on Saturday - even after the Titans did a number on them last weekend.
"What it does do is takes the pressure off us and everyone forgets about us. At times this year when we have relieved a bit of pressure and no one was talking about us we played our best. I hope people keep saying it because we have the belief," Marshall said.
"Don't get me wrong, we are going out to win this weekend to make sure we do make the semis. It’s just about momentum. If we can get some there it will do us the world of good.
"Losing to the Gold Coast is not a good thing but they probably couldn't have played any better. Losing was sad but you have to move on."
Marshall may have to make do without halves partner Gareth Widdop though who has reportedly suffered a serious quadriceps injury and is in danger of missing the rest of the season.
"It's weird. He trained lastTuesday. We jogged through all our stuff and he was sweet. Then he had a cork from the game and had a bit of bleeding out. All of a sudden he was gone and had to have a scan," Marshall said.
"Hopefully it's good news because we need him. I think he has been our best player over the last month or so. He just competes on every play and we need his leadership around the field."