Benji's ready for another crack for the Dragons. Image courtesy of: AAP
South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George-Illawarra Dragons
Monday June 2 – 7:05 PM (AEST)
It was a disappointment to say the least. The return of Benji Marshall to the NRL was not one he would want to remember. It was a subject people were torn on. Some said if he finds that passion and determination, he will prevail at the St George-Illawarra Dragons . Others were a little more sceptical, believing Benji's best years are behind him. He will need to find some form when the 'Big Red V' face the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Monday, especially with the Rabbits starting to put the foot down.
You can’t put all the blame on Marshall for the Dragons' loss against the Eels two weeks ago. He was given no time to develop any sort of combination with Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan. A lot of passes went behind him, the forwards gave him no platform and he was constantly handed hospital balls. Granted he was inconsistent at best, but he wasn’t given many options. If the former Tigers tyro wants to make an impact, he needs that hunger for the game again. Peter Mata’utia is in the centres, pushing Joel Thompson to the second row and Jason Nightingale to the wing. Ben Creagh and Dan Hunt start up front, with Tyson Frizell and Bronson Harrison moving to the bench. Trent Merrin returns from Origin duty, while Brett Morris is likely to miss Monday's clash with a dislocated shoulder. Leeson Ah Mau makes up the rest of the back row, while Shane Pumipi and Will Matthews make up the extended bench.
All you can say about the Rabbitohs' effort on Monday was at least they got the win. After one of the worst games of football so far this year, the Bunnies have to take a long hard look at where they want to be in September. The Burgess boys were solid upfront, but that was it. Adam Reynolds was poor, John Sutton made more mistakes than we expect from him and Dylan Walker was a little quieter than usual. Lucky for them, it’s GI (Greg Inglis) to the rescue. The Origin star returns to the backline, dropping Nathan Merritt to NSW Cup. Ben Te’o and Chris McQueen also return to the fray, forcing Joe Picker and Ben Lowe out of the side. Issac Luke could be a late inclusion, after spending the last month on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
The Rabbits should have this one. But be warned - Marshall used to be a game-changer, and if he fires against the Bunnies, an upset is a definite possibility. This is also the Saints first hit-out since sacking coach Steve Price. It will be interesting to see how much puff there is in these disappointing Dragons under interim coach Paul McGregor.
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