‘Incident’ won’t hurt my form
Benji Marshall - SMH
March 13, 2011
I’M SURE it will come as no surprise to anyone how difficult this past week has been, for myself and my family.
It has been one of the toughest, and most stressful, weeks of my life. It is one everyone could have done without. My legal advice is that I cannot comment on the allegation against me, and I am respectful of the process. I can say I will be defending the present charge.
The thing that is so disappointing about the whole situation is that it has taken some of the gloss of the start of the NRL season, one I am very much looking forward to. Before the incident last week, I had been, and still am, proud to have launched the season in Casula. We raised almost $250,000 for the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia in an important fundraiser.
My teammates have been great throughout the past week, and I know I can count on their support. I can assure them, and anyone else, that I am going to do my utmost not to allow this incident to affect either my season, or that of my team.
I have to say, it will be something of a relief to concentrate on football.
I would have loved to have written this first column of the year solely about my hopes for the new season. That is not really possible, but I still want to turn the focus onto the footy.
To be honest, I would have preferred to have been able to kick off the season earlier on the weekend, but we will face the Bulldogs tomorrow night in the first round. It is difficult enough waiting until the Monday night on any given weekend, let alone the first round, when every footballer is desperate to get out on the field and put to good use all the work from the pre-season.
It has been a good off-season for us, by and large. Our squad has hardly changed since last year, which is a lot different to tomorrow night’s opponents, who lost some very good players but in the process picked up some quality.
We were obviously very happy with our efforts of last season, losing to the eventual premiers by a point in the grand final qualifier, and with such a young squad I have total confidence that we will improve on last year’s efforts. We also feel like we have picked up a very handy addition in Tim Moltzen, who only played five matches last year before doing his knee. Tim is my housemate, and I saw how hard he worked to get back on the field.
The Bulldogs are slight unknowns. They’ve lost a lot of experience in Brett Kimmorley and Luke Patten, but Trent Hodkinson is a good young half and Ben Barba an exciting talent. Frank Pritchard is always dangerous. I’m fairly sure they will be up there at the end of the season. I know we will be.