Tigers out to spoil Benji's party
Former teammates of Dragons halfback Benji Marshall have congratulated the 2005 premiership-winner on bringing up 250 NRL games, but it won't stop them trying to spoil his party when he faces his old club in his milestone game.
Marshall was set to play game number 250 last weekend before a troublesome hamstring pushed it back a week but the silver lining is that the big game now comes against the club he played the bulk of his career for.
Unfortunately his old mate Robbie Farah won't be involved after being demoted to reserve grade during the week but other senior Tigers have weighed in ahead of Marshall's milestone.
"Yes I'm pretty excited for him to play his 250th," Marshall's 2005 Grand Final teammate, the retiring Dene Halatau, said this week.
"I don't want to rain on his parade. I'm stoked for him but hopefully we beat him. I will definitely congratulate him on what he's achieved."
Wests Tigers vice captain Chris Lawrence, who played eight seasons alongside Marshall in black, white and gold, said Marshall's teammates would no doubt be keen to get him a win in his milestone game.
"It's going to be a big game for him obviously if he plays, not only for himself but I'm sure the Dragons will be fired up," Lawrence said.
"Particularly for a player like Benji who I know is such a good mate of all the Dragons boys, they're going to want to make sure it's a memorable day for him.
"He loves the club but in saying that once we cross the stripe he won't really care how many years or how many matches he's got on the other side of the field, he'll just be wanting to get the win."
Lawrence wasn't buying into talk the Dragons are down on confidence and struggling to score points, insisting any team is only a week away from turning things around.
"It doesn't mean anything. Even we've showed early on in the year it doesn't matter what's happened in previous weeks, if your attitude's right and some things stick with your execution then you can be a completely different team week to week," he added.
"Obviously being down on confidence and down on form, they're wanting to hit back and Benji's 250th they'll definitely be turning up with the right attitude."
Tigers skipper Aaron Woods tipped the Red V to have something extra to play for on Sunday.
"[It's] a bit of extra motivation for the boys. Benji's a good mate of ours as well so I wouldn't want to say it but hopefully we beat him on his 250th and have a beer with him afterwards but we need a big performance this Sunday."
Marshall aside, this 10th v 11th clash is vital for both club's finals aspirations.
"They've got a really good side. When their backs are against the wall I think they'll be up for a massive game this week. I think they've been criticised pretty heavily in the media the last couple of weeks but they'll be fired up for a big game. We'll have to prepare all week and be ready for them," Woods said.
"They're ahead of us on the ladder so they're a side we have to knock off to jump ahead of. It's a must-win game for us. I think every game from now on is a must win for us."