Wests Tigers centre Esan Marsters.

Marsters eyes off fast track to Raiders' tryline

Esan Marsters has just 33 NRL games to his name but doesn't need experience to analyse how Penrith terrorised the Raiders' left-edge defence in their comeback win on Sunday.

The forward-turned outside back hinted at the Tigers' game plan when they head down to the nation's capital for their must-win clash against the Raiders.

Raiders utility Blake Austin finds himself in the centres after injuries to Jarrod Croker and Michael Oldfield.

While the right edge fired against the Panthers with Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana scoring five tries between them, their left side was where the points were leaked and Marsters was quick to point that out.

"I thought Canberra played well but they had a few lapses on their left edge," Marsters told NRL.com.

"We do a lot of video and I saw Blake Austin, they tried to target him on that edge because he's not a centre.

"All that stuff happened to me when I came into the centres, you have to be strong with your defensive reads.

"In saying that it was a tough game for Penrith to come back like that, it's what their known for. He'll be a lot better than last week."

Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, David Nofoaluma and Esan Marsters.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, David Nofoaluma and Esan Marsters. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

The Wests Tigers may well have their attack planned out but they'll need to turn around a horror defensive record against the Raiders, having conceded 206 points in their past four clashes against the Green Machine.

Marsters has enjoyed a breakout season under Cleary after bursting onto the scene late in 2017. His maturity and knowledge of the game has grown and he was rewarded with a Test debut in June.

"The confidence has gone up, but at the end of the day I've still got to come back and play the best I can," he said.

"When I got back Ivan challenged me to come back and play like a Test player.

"He got me on the field and was talking to me about the week, he pulls us aside individually. I'd have a good performance one week but not so much the next. He knows I'm young and can get better.

"I enjoy that feedback and don't mind a bit of a challenge."

The Wests Tigers are in the player market for outside backs with the pending departures of Kevin Naiqama (St Helens), Tuimoala Lolohea (Leeds Rhinos) and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith) next season.

For the time being, Marsters is happy to keep his development in the centres going, but has ambition to finish his career back in the forwards.

"I'm still keen to play in the back row," Marsters said.

"I don't know when I will ... probably later in my career. I'm enjoying my time in the centres. Ivan really challenged me to lose weight in the off-season so I could fit into that centre role.

"You have to make a lot of correct defensive reads. If you miss a tackle in the back row people can run across and cover you. When you're in the centres you are vulnerable."