Marshall: Plenty To Offer
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
After turning back the clock in the Dragons' 30-18 win over the Knights, Benji Marshall has reaffirmed he has plenty of years left in rugby league.
Marshall scored a try, set up another two and produced three line-break assists in the Dragons 12-point win in what was easily his best performance of the season.
The 31-year-old's display against the Knights was just his eighth appearance of the year and the first time he's played three games consecutively this season as he's battled a constant hamstring complaint.
Marshall himself believed his performance in Newcastle was timely in the grand scheme of contractual discussions and said his hamstring woes proved frustrating as he couldn't prove himself on the paddock.
"A lot of people probably doubt that I still have footy in me but for me it's not about showing people that – it's about showing myself. I know within myself that I have a lot left in me," Marshall told NRL.com.
"I missed 60-odd games through shoulder reconstructions earlier in my career and I think they'll help me in the next few years.
"In terms of contract stuff though, I've left it alone," Marshall added.
"I've just told my management let me play footy, play a few games in a row and trust me the form, it'll come. With form comes playing a few games in a row.
"I'm starting to see a few benefits from that and that comes with feeling my way back into the game."
Marshall laughed off suggestions he was kicking it old school against the Knights but said the Dragons have adopted a different attacking mentality in recent weeks after recording their highest tally of points in a game.
"Earlier in the year we were averaging 80 per cent completions for not a lot of return. That was from playing a little bit too controlled and I just think we have created a mindset of playing a bit of footy," Marshall said.
"For myself personally, that's what I've been trying to do – just play what I see – and I suppose take a few risks."
Prior to the Dragons' win over Melbourne last weekend, the Red V had produced the least amount of points competition-wide. Even the cellar-dwelling Knights had scored more.
Marshall said though it's about time fans and the team alike erase negative thoughts over their offensive fortitude considering they've scored 48 points in the past fortnight.
"Everyone tells you 'you're not scoring points' and everyone tells you 'you can't score points' and sometimes you start thinking that," Marshall said.
"The last few seasons we have built our game around defence and stopping tries. I don't think we have been as effective with our 'D' as what we were last year but we're out to create our own identity again.
"I think we can do that off the back of scoring some points. We have the potential, and it's time we adopt the mindset of doing it."