Farah, Marshall to forge lethal pairing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Farah, Marshall to forge lethal pairing

By Todd Balym 15/03/2009 02:25:08 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah was hesitant to compare his hooker-halfback combination with Benji Marshall to the 2005 title-winning partnership with Scott Prince, but the signs are very promising.

Farah and Marshall enter a new era for the Tigers on Monday night when they face Canberra at Campbelltown Stadium.

It will be the first time since they both made their debut in 2003 that they've played so closely together but Farah has no doubt Tim Sheens's decision to move Marshall closer to the action will reap rewards.

"At training it's looked great and we all feel comfortable with how it's going," said Farah.

"I don't think it's not going to work.

"(Partnership with Prince) was a pretty successful combination and I will reserve judgment (on his Marshall combination) until we string some good wins together.

"It is looking promising but we have got to put it onto the paddock and win some footy games."

While the performances of Marshall and Farah will dictate how successful the Tigers are in 2009, equally important is the role of back rower Chris Heighington.

Heighington was a standout last year and is on the cusp of NSW honours if he can continue his hard-working form in 2009.

Coach Tim Sheens, the new Kangaroos mentor, said Heighington will play a crucial role for the Tigers this year and has no doubt the 27-year-old can earn higher honours if his form continues.

"I'm not expecting him to carry the team," said Sheens.

"He has trained extremely well and he is healthy and confident from last year.

"That little bit of experience has certainly added some confidence to his game.

"Chris is really looking forward to the challenge of not only helping us but maybe taking his career to another rep level. If he plays well for us he will."

Monday's clash is crucial to how the Tigers start the season as they play their first three games in just 12 days.

They travel to North Queensland next Saturday before returning to face the Roosters on Friday March 27.

Farah said it was important for the Tigers to get early wins, but they're not expecting an easy season opener against Canberra who won seven of their last nine games in 2008 to surge into the finals.

"Every year they're very under-rated ... but they're a very good attacking footy team and they punish you when you're not on your game," he said.

"The way they finished last year and the momentum they gained it was unbelievable and I thought they were one of the best teams in the comp.

"We're expecting them to start off this year the way they finished last year."

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