Competition - NRL Premiership
Round - Round 01
Teams – Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra Dragons
Date –    7th of March 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

Marshall: Contract Talks Not A Distraction

St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Benji Marshall concedes there needs to be a stern improvement in the team’s performance against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Thursday.

The Red-and-Whites succumbed to a 36-0 loss against reigning Premiers the North Queensland Cowboys last round to succumb to their third loss from five fixtures this season.

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Marshall, 31, believes that the team will need to improve on their handling errors if they are to pose a threat against last season’s Grand Finalists this round and need to also believe in their scoring ability.

The Dragons are in the midst of a nine-day bloc north of the state line as a result of back-to-back fixtures which has seen them face the Cowboys (Round 5) and in the coming days the Broncos (Round 6).

Marshall believes the time spent together during the nine day bloc away from home has helped the team bond and will prove beneficial in the long run.

“I think our completion rate really let us down and we only completed at 53 percent which, against the Premiers, made it tough,” said Marshall.

“Holding the ball at 53 percent means you’re going to lose any game.

“People can say what they want about our forwards but a lot of our errors are being made by our backs.

“I think our forward packs our one of the best in the competition and I’ll be happy to play behind them any week.

“To be a great side you need to complete at above 80 percent and every time we have done that we have won our own games.

“From our point of view there’s a big focus on completions and if you want to go toe-to-toe with the big teams you need to compete with them.

“The Coach has put the foot down a bit this week and rightfully so and as a team we have really come together and addressed where we want to be and how we are perceived as a team.

“If you are leaking 30-points against any team then it’s not good enough but that’s been addressed and we’ll be better this week.

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“We won a lot of our games last year by two points or thereabouts but obviously we would like to score more tries of course.

“In fact we haven’t been scoring them and our confidence is down a bit but all it takes is one game to turn it all around and hopefully that starts this week.

“The short turnaround though will be beneficial for us as it allows us to prepare straight away and get on with the job.

“We have addressed a few things that went wrong for us from the weekend and being away in camp together for the week will only help us.”

Marshall is presently contracted to the Club until at least the end of this season but worries about his future have not proven to be a distraction.

The pivot has every belief that his career will be sorted in the coming months and that he will lace-up his boots again in the NRL next season.

“My contract negotiations are no further to where they were a fortnight ago and won’t be any further for another three weeks I think,” said Marshall.

“It’s the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.

“I’m definitely not thinking about it, maybe in three-to-four weeks I might start, but my mind at the moment is getting the team back on the right path.

“I will be playing next year, there is no doubt about that with me, I just don’t know where yet.”