Jake Marketo in action against the Broncos.

Bennett initiative reutilised by Red V

Dragons back-rower Jake Marketo's recent move to hooker was first brought up by now-Broncos mastercoach Wayne Bennett when the 27-year-old first debuted in the NRL.

Marketo played five NRL games under Bennett during his time at the Red V throughout the 2010 and 2011 seasons. 

Bennett's attempts to shape him into hooker were abandoned soon after, but it didn't hinder Marketo's career as he approaches 50 NRL games. 

Marketo has started at hooker over the past fortnight to allow usual rake Mitch Rein to explode in the final hour of games off the bench. 

"I've done a little bit of skills here and there during pre-seasons. When Wayne was here he made me play hooker for a little bit so some of what I'm doing is new and some of it isn't," Marketo told NRL.com. 

"Wayne saw something in me at the time and tried to develop me into a hooker in a way. I didn't really kick on with it obviously but now there's a bit of an opportunity there with the coaching staff wanting me to start."

The key for Marketo now – who reverts back to either prop or the back row later in games – is keeping it simple. 

 


"It's a good little challenge at the moment. It's good to get out there at the start of the game for the first 20, 25 minutes and mix it with the starting pack," Marketo said.

"I just have to keep working on the skills and hopefully I can keep doing a job for the boys. It's a simplified role so I'm not trying to complicate things."

Marketo's Dragons teammate Benji Marshall came under plenty of fire throughout the week following a poor showing against the Broncos in Round 22 of the Telstra Premiership.

Marketo backed Marshall to bounce back against the Sharks on Saturday night, and said he and skipper Gareth Widdop have been crucial to his development out of dummy half.

"Everyone has the full support of everyone else at the club. We are very tight-knit here and we know Bags (Marshall) will come out this week and put his best foot forward as everyone will," Marketo said. 

"There have been times where they have tipped me up on the run because obviously they know I'm new to the position," he added. 

"I'll take any tips I can along the way from them. I gave Bags (Marshall) a dodgy one last week and he dropped the ball. I copped the big Benji Marshall stare after that. 

"I had to make sure I hit him on the chest the next time."