Wests Tigers received a huge boost on Tuesday with Benji Marshall named to start at five-eighth for his side’s must-win game against the Canberra Raiders.
Marshall’s influence on the side has been easy to see this season, his combination with Luke Brooks has seen Ivan Cleary’s side knock off a number of competition heavyweights throughout the year and his absence once leaving the field with a calf injury last week against Newcastle was certainly noticeable. Yet while the Life Member’s inclusion is a huge boost for the chances of Wests Tigers, it’s also given the team a positive they might not be as conscious of — his incredible record against the Raiders.
Not only is it an incredible head-to-head record, it’s also clear that the 33-year-old enjoys facing the Green Machine more than most other team having scored 110 points (5 tries, 44 goals, 2 field goals) against them.
Benji’s remarkable run against the Raiders began in 2004 when he scored a try in a 26-12 win in Round 10, before also crossing for a try in his second game against the Raiders in 2005. He was instrumental in the second matchup against Canberra later that year as well — helping Wests Tigers fight back from 14-0 down at half-time to win the game 22-14 and continue their memorable streak in to the 2005 Finals Series.
The 33-year-old’s lone loss to the Raiders came in Round 4 of the 2012 season when a Wests Tigers side that started the game with a different fullback, halfback and hooker went down 30-16 at Campbelltown.
Marshall missed the matchup between the two sides earlier this year at Campbelltown when Canberra fought back from a 12-4 deficit early to pile on the points and emerge with a convincing 48-12 victory.
His Wests Tigers teammates will certainly be hoping that his inclusion this week proves the lucky charm!