St George Illawarra halfback Benji Marshall admits he is not the player he used to be but that does not mean he has no value for the NRL side.
St George Illawarra halfback Benji Marshall says he has cut the razzle dazzle from his game and is no longer trying to play like a young man.
Marshall had his best game in Dragons colours in the NRL side’s 24-12 upset win over Melbourne on Monday night.
The 29-year-old No.7 will be remembered by league fans for that famous flick pass to Pat Richards in the 2005 grand final and his trademark jinking sidestep that spawned countless imitators in parks across Australia and New Zealand.
He says an honesty session with coach Paul McGregor on his return to the NRL, following a stint in rugby union, helped him to realise he is not the player he used to be, but that does not mean he is a spent force.
“When I came back, I was probably trying to be the player I was when I was 18 or 19 and score every try and be the hero,” he said.
“The reality is I can’t be that player. I’ve grown up; I’ve changed; my body’s changed; I’m not as quick as what I used to be.
“There are a lot of things that changed and I probably needed to change. I can play that leadership role getting repeat sets and that sort of stuff. I really enjoyed that on the weekend. I took control of the kicking game on the weekend and just put our team in good positions.”
Going into Saturday’s clash with North Queensland at WIN Jubilee Oval, the Dragons’ only concern is whether centre Dylan Farrell will make a return from a pectoral injury.
The Cowboys must address their woeful away form and have been decimated by injury and representative duties.
They will field a team with just four players – Antonio Winterstein, Scott Bolton, Ashton Sims and Glenn Hall – with more than 100 NRL caps. Coach Paul Green has also named three players, Sam Hoare, Ben Spina and Tautau Moga, in an 18-man squad to make their club debuts.
Moga will play after arriving in Townsville just six days earlier following a mid-season transfer from the Sydney Roosters.
“Seven days ago, (Moga) was living in a completely different city, a completely different environment, with a different group of players,” Green said.
“Our boys have been really welcoming. Tau’s trained well since he’s been here but it’s a big challenge for him.”