Marshall has nothing to prove to Tigers: Harrison
Plenty has been made of Benji Marshall's first game against the Tigers since their acrimonious split almost a year ago, and teammate Bronson Harrison knows just how tough a date with an ex can be.
Harrison, a former Tiger himself for six years before finding his way to the Dragons via four seasons with Canberra, has come up against the black and gold that once adorned his back 10 times since departing Concord.
Despite leaving the Tigers with 79 caps under his belt in 2009, the former Kiwi back-rower didn't enjoy a victory over his old teammates until his career tally had pushed well over the 150 mark, with Marshall himself engineering several of the eight straight losses Harrison endured against his former club.
While Harrison's revenge – a 30-18 win in his final year with the Raiders in 2012 – was served on ice later than he would've preferred, the 28-year-old says Marshall's competitive fires will be stoked by the occasion on Sunday afternoon.
"You always want to win, but against your old side you want to get that win a little bit more, and yeah it was pretty sweet when we did get that win," Harrison tells NRL.com.
"You've got that inner drive it's always there, and (against a former club) it steps up a notch.
"And the first one it's probably on your mind a bit more."
At the same time though, the Dragons back-rower won't be offering his former Kiwi skipper any advice on how to handle one of the few showdowns he's yet to experience in his glittering 12-year career. You don't win a premiership at age 20, a Golden Boot award at 25 and rack up 25 starts for your country without learning how to handle a bit of pre-game expectation.
"I'm not going to tell Benj what to do – he's a grown man, he can handle himself," Harrison says.
"He's been around. He gets the most pressure out of anyone in the club and has pretty much everywhere he's gone.
"He knows how to handle himself so he'll be looking forward to the challenge."
And should disgruntled Tigers fans choose to boo their once favourite son – despite a number of his former teammates and current Tigers players asking them not to this week – Harrison says it won't phase Marshall one iota.
"There's a few people that'll have a bitter taste in their mouth about how everything panned out but that's in the past now," says Harrison.
"He's got a great future here with a good team in front of him. I'm sure that he'll be able to take it all in his stride.
"I don't think Benji has a point to prove, but he will want to put in the best performance he can.
"I've known Benji a long time now and there's always been a lot of pressure on him but he's always handled it."