Magic Marshall slays Melbourne Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magic Marshall slays Melbourne Storm

By Adrian Proszenko 02/04/2006 06:37:29 PM Comments (0)

Piloting the Wests Tigers to a stunning 30-28 win over Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval, whiz kid Benji Marshall has given an ominous warning to his NRL opponents that his best is still to come.

Returning a month ahead of schedule from a cheekbone fracture sustained in round one against St George Illawarra, Marshall ignited a backline which had struggled in his absence.

The 22-year-old tormented the Storm defence, having a hand in four tries as the Tigers handed Tim Sheens a win in his 500th game as a first grade coach.

"I was pretty happy with my performance, there's just a couple of little things I can improve on," Marshall said.

"There is always something to work on and match fitness is something that comes with time.

"I think after another two or three games I'll be right.

"We're back after today."

The scoreline would have been more lopsided had the Tigers not clocked off early and if captain Brett Hodgson had brought his goalkicking boots, landing just one goal from seven attempts.

In all, the Tigers have won only six of 21 games without Marshall, but his presence sparked a return to the expansive style of football which served them so well in their run to the premiership last year.

The biggest beneficiaries were wingers Shane Elford and Daniel Fitzhenry, who bagged five tries between them, the latter earning a hat-trick.

Tigers halfback Scott Prince said Marshall's return helped his own game and that of the team.

"With Benji in the team it helps us because he's got so much ability in attack," Prince said.

"It's also the confidence he brings to the team.

"Just working with him, we know each other's game and helps when you've a guy who sees what you see and vice versa."

Boom youngster Greg Inglis opened the scoring for the visitors in just the fourth minute, outleaping Dean Collis to take a spectacular AFL-style mark to score off a Cooper Cronk bomb.

But it was the last time the visitors would score for almost an hour as the Tigers racked up 30 unanswered points.

The opening exchanges were marred by several high shots, with Scott Hill put on report midway through the first half for a high tackle on Scott Prince. Three minutes later, Dallas Johnson was the victim of a high shot from centre-cum-lock Jamaal Lolesi, who was also placed on report.

In between the two incidents, Marshall underlined his importance to the Tigers, involved in a superb backline movement which ended in Elford scoring in the left-hand corner.

The two then combined superbly in the 29th minute to hand the Tigers a 14-4 lead. Marshall again took advantage of some skinny defence down the Storm's left-hand flank, finding an unmarked Elford who crossed for his second.

Marshall was at it again just before the break, this time tormenting the defence down the right flank before hitting winger Daniel Fitzhenry with a perfect ball to extend the premiers' lead to 18-4 at halftime.

The home side continued to run riot after the break, scoring three tries to take control of the game.

But the Tigers switched off at the back end of the game, as the Storm scored four tries in the final 17 minutes, including a double to Billy Slater.

"They just felt sorry for us," said Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

"We are the worst team in the competition with completion rates and we didn't improve today."

Sheens, who had been at pains to downplay his 500th game throughout the week, said he would now savour the moment.

"I'll sit down and have a beer tonight and reflect on the last 500 games or so."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news