Marshall: Team Will Click
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
This time last year the Dragons were 0-2 and resigned to the bottom of the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, it's a similar predicament the club faces in 2016 in search of their first win of the season.
Round 3, 2015 saw the Dragons record an upset victory over the Raiders – coming back from an 18-0 deficit after 36 minutes to sneak away with a 22-20 victory. It proved vital as the Red V went on to win eight of their next nine games.
It's something veteran halfback Benji Marshall hopes to achieve again, minus the 18-0 scoreline, against South Sydney this Sunday at the Sydney Cricket ground.
"For us we were in this position last year. For some reason after that [18-0] point we just clicked into gear. So I'm hoping that happens again this week," Marshall said.
"Last year in that game I think we found our identity a bit with our defence. Duges [Josh Dugan] was sin-binned at one stage so we were down to 12 and for some reason it just went to another level in defence.
"I felt like in the first two rounds so far this year we haven't been too bad in defence, but we haven't had that same line speed or intent that we had through that good period we had last year.
"Hopefully we can find that intent again against a great forward pack that's obviously going to test us."
South Sydney won't be easy beats– with the ladder leaders recording a club record 90 points in the opening fortnight of the season.
"They have been very impressive – probably the form team of the first couple of rounds. Considering too they have lost a few of their key players it's impressive," Marshall said.
"We have own our own things we're trying to sort out. Our attack was pretty disappointing on the weekend; we completed at 50 per cent so there's a lot of focus on holding the ball this week, and trying to score some points."
Dugan's shift to fullback this week – with Kurt Mann (ankle) injured – is set to add another element to the Dragons' attack according to Marshall.
"It definitely provides a different dimension. We have been lacking a little bit on our kick returns and our starts to our sets, and what Duges does is he creates a quick play the ball and gets us on the front foot straight away," Marshall said.
"Theoretically it should help our attack. He'll add a different dimension which will probably prove more important than trying to score tries."
Game Day Activations
The fixture will be recognising and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Premiership - the last in the world record run of 11 Premierships between 1956-1966.
The Dragons will have a “History Walk” activation with different pieces of memorabilia celebrating the historic 11 Premiership wins between 1956-66 at the Victor Trumper Concourse (Level 1).
Jersey Information & Auction
The Dragons will also commemorate the occasion by wearing a special Heritage Jersey recognising the 11-straight Premierships and 85 players involved.
The Dragons player-worn Heritage Jerseys will be available for auction via the official website between Thursday, March 17-Thursday, March 24.