Marshall homes in on another flag
September 20, 2010
WESTS Tigers’ Benji Marshall won’t say that a grand final win would mean more this time around - but he does admit he is doing more in order to achieve it.
Many pundits are claiming Marshall is the most dangerous player in the competition as he prepares for Saturday night’s preliminary final against St George Illawarra.
But Marshall believes he is simply homing in on ‘‘where I want to be’’.
‘‘I still think I can improve a lot more,’’ Marshall said. ''I think there’s a lot of improvement left in my running game to start with. I still think I’ve got a little bit to work on there.
''Everyone can always improve. There’s always things I’m not happy with. I’d like everything to be perfect.
‘‘But I do feel it’s starting to come together. I’m not far off being the player that I want to be. I’ve always said it’d take me a while. This is the first time I’ve played a full season.’’
So five years after he helped the Tigers to a title against North Queensland, is he in the best form of his career?
‘‘This is probably the best it’s been in terms of consistency, knowing everything everything I do has an influence on the side,’’ he said. ‘‘Back in 2005 Princey [Scott Prince] had a lot of influence on the side, so now I’ve got more influence than I did back then.’’
Despite being under an injury cloud for the entire build-up to the club’s elimination final last Friday night, Marshall was instrumental in the Tigers’ 26-24 win over Canberra, which handed them a preliminary final spot against the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The Tigers’ charge towards a grand final is showing similarities to their 2005 premiership win. Apart from taking on the Dragons in the penultimate game, they will be doing so with their gifted five-eighth improving as the weather gets warmer.
‘‘Back then (in 2005), I was 20, and you take a lot of things for granted,’’ Marshall said.
''I didn’t really think about it too much, and my job was easy. Princey was there to do all the organising. But now I’m being more of a leader, and providing direction for the team.
‘‘I’m certainly not going to take it for granted. I’ve had five years of injuries and missing the semis.’’
But when it is suggested that Marshall was sounding like a player who believed a premiership win in 2010 would mean more than that remarkable first one, he takes a step back.
‘‘That’s hard to say,’’ he said. ‘‘It was the best time in my life when we won it. And we’re still a long way away. We’ve still got to beat the Dragons to get there.’’
Source: The Age