New recruit Marshall-King to make most of golden chance
Last week, Jeremy Marshall-King was getting the steel cap boots ready. He was preparing to go back to work in demolition.
Then Moses Suli parted ways with the club and the final spot on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs' 30-man roster opened up.
Now, the younger brother of Wests Tigers poster boy Benji Marshall will trade steel caps for football boots as he prepares to make his club debut for the Bulldogs against premiership-winners Melbourne Storm in Perth.
It will end a week that included him extending his time at Belmore until the end of the 2020 season.
"If I didn't get that spot I would have had to be just part-time and get a job on the outside," Marshall-King told NRL.com in Perth on Wednesday.
"It's not enough to live off a part-time contract. You have to work and train as well. That's not really ideal. I was going back to do demolition. But it's all worked out in the end. I can't wait to rip in."
Through Suli's misfortune, an opportunity was presented to a player who made his NRL debut in the final game of the season for the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval last year.
Given his older brother was heading back to the club in 2018, it was assumed Marshall-King would be hellbent on staying at the club.
However, he had the blessing of his brother to leave in the hope of pursuing a regular first-grade position with the Bulldogs.
"I actually signed with the Tigers for another year but during the cooling off period a better opportunity came in from the Bulldogs to make the move," he said.
"I'm glad I made the move, but a part of me wished I could have stayed there with my brother. That was the plan. But it didn't work out. My brother told me 'do what's best for you'. He said 'don't worry about me being at the Tigers, just do what’s best for you'.
"A better opportunity came up for me at the Bulldogs so I took it with both hands. He said 'just go, it's probably a better pathway for you to make it'. I was only going to be part-time with the Tigers. Now I'm full-time top 30 for the first time ever. I don't have to go work in demolition. Man, I'm so happy I made the move here."
Two days after learning he would be a part of the club’s 30-man roster, Marshall-King was told to get ready to play in round one, where he will likely come off the bench to play hooker against the Storm.
"I only found out last Friday," he said.
"Dean [Pay] came up to me and told me you were going to be in the top 17. He said don't say anything to anyone, just let it come out in the media. I was like what, what do you mean. I was just so happy. I told my family members and my close friends."
Meanwhile, Pay believes Kieran Foran will benefit from a restricted workload over the pre-season as he looks to overcome a horror run of injuries.
Foran's body has been the topic of great conjecture but Pay believes there are no concerns with his fitness heading into the round one clash against the Storm in the Perth double-header.
"We knew that he had a fair bit of work to do on himself," Pay said during the captain and coaches press conference at Perth Stadium on Wednesday.
"He's worked really hard on himself physically and away from the field. He's going really well at the moment. He's looking forward to getting out there on Saturday and playing with his new teammates.
"He had a shoulder injury and a lower leg problem that he's had in the past. But the medical guys have done a fantastic job with him. They didn't really push him at all.
"They wanted to make sure he got himself physically right. It took a little while but he's been back training for quite a while now and we'll see a fit and healthy Kieran Foran out there on Saturday night."
New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admitted the club didn't see the best of Foran in 2017.
"It was a challenging year in a lot of ways last year for Foz last year," Kearney said.
"Living apart from his two young ones and he had a fair few issues to go with that with his body. So it was a challenging little period for him. We probably didn’t see the best of him.
"I'm pretty confident now that he's back in Sydney close to the kids, and he's worked on his body pretty hard. I think everyone wants to see him back how we know he can play."