Marshall is a great player. We would be an average team without him and I respect the fact he is loyal to the club when he’d have better offers on the table. I’d also take him over any other player in the league simply because he makes tigers matches so compelling with his adlib play. So, this is not intended to bag Marhsall, but I thought I’d bring up two key moments in the last two years…
2010 Prelim final: Play stops with ten minutes to go as Lote Tuquiri receives attention for a Jeremy Smith knee to the back which will take him out of the game. Tigers have the ball on the Dragons 40m line and it is the last tackle with the match tied at 12 all and a very tense arm wrestle going on. When play resumes the ball goes out to Marshall who with time and space kicks the ball out on the full, giving the ball to the Dragons on their 40m line. From that set of six the Dragons play the ball into a field goal range and Jamie Soward kicks the field goal from 40 metres out.
2011 quarter final: Tigers are on the last tackle with four minutes to go leading 22-20 on the Warriors 40m line. Marhsall gets the ball out wide and elects to run it on the last. The play looked promising but Marshall ends up getting tackled on the last and turning the ball over to the Warriors on their 40m line. From the ensuing set of six the Warriors put up a bomb that is poorly dealt with by Lote and Krisnan Inu scores the game winning try.
Two crucial matches, two very important moments, two Marshall mistakes that cost two shots at a grand final two years in a row.
I think this is just what you accept when you have Marshall in the side. Somedays he will lose very important games and somedays he will win them. There is no way the side makes it this far without Marshall. I have seen them score brilliant tries doing the exact same thing Marshall did last night on the last tackle and you can’t say not to try it again last night after our entire successful season has been based around that type of play. It was a well worked play, but was well defended by the warriors and we lost.
But, I wish he would have just kicked it and that is now two years in a row. Lets hope we get the same chance to try something special on the last in such a crucial game next year. Part of being a Wests tigers fan I guess.