Warriors’ Benji 2.0 runs riot over Tigers

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    Benji Marshall’s heir apparent stole his thunder to fire the Warriors to a 24-14 NRL comeback win over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.

    Playing his last game at the Tigers’ spiritual home after requesting an early release from the club at season’s end, Marshall was unable to match the brilliance of his young New Zealand Test teammate Shaun Johnson.

    Johnson delivered a second-half masterclass to haul the Warriors back from an eight-point deficit and all but extinguish the Tigers’ flickering finals hopes.

    Dubbed the “next Benji Marshall”, Johnson kept the Warriors in touch at 14-6 down at the break with his side’s only first-half four-pointer before igniting the revival with a 95-metre runaway try in the 56th minute.

    The 22-year-old then laid on the match-winner for skipper Simon Mannering with a well-placed kick ahead after shredding the Tigers’ defence.

    Mannering’s try came just six minutes after he was denied one off another Johnson grubber when the two video referees ruled the Warriors captain had knocked on trying to ground the ball.

    Seemingly headed to rugby union after being unable to reach an agreement with the Tigers, Marshall was teary-eyed at kick-off after receiving a rousing reception from the loyal crowd.

    In the sixth minute he rifled a beautiful left-to-right cut-out pass for Ayshford to put winger David Nofoaluma for the first try of the night.

    Marshall’s sideline conversion attempt struck the upright but the Tigers were up and running with a 4-0 lead.

    The hosts doubled their advantage in the 13th minute when Chris Lawrence ran off five-eighth Curtis Sironen and bounced out of a tackle to cross for the Tigers’ second four-pointer.

    Marshall again missed with his conversion attempt and the Tigers’ lead was cut two two when Johnson crossed for the first of his tryscoring double in the 34th minute and added the extras.

    A spectacular 65-metre solo try to exciting young winger Tim Simona on the stroke of halftime, converted by Marshall from in front of the sticks, restored the Tigers’ eight-pointer buffer.

    Winning coach Matt Elliott praised Johnson and hooker Nathan Friend for holding the Warriors together.

    “Shaun’s second-half performance, in particular, was really pivotal,” he said.

    “Shaun obviously came up with some pretty striking plays and I’m over the moon for him.

    “He’s starting to learn that the more responsibility he takes on, the better he plays.”

    Tigers veteran Liam Fulton said it had been a tough week for Marshall but refused to blame his impending departure as any excuse for the loss.

    “He probably didn’t know how the crowd were going to react to him,” Fulton said.

    “He was probably pretty emotional during the week, but we got on with the job and that probably wasn’t the reason we lost.

    “I thought he went alright.”

    Fulton said the Tigers were clinging to the mathematical hope of still making the playoffs.

    “I know it’s getting harder, but we’re still positive,” he said.

    “We’re still putting in each week and we still think we’re a chance.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • July 20th 2013 @ 8:39am
      oikee said | July 20th 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      This game started off frustratingly one sided, witht he refs blowing a penalty to the tigers after every set of six tackles while they had possession.
      That is how you kill a contest, or wear out the away team. Luckily the Warriors had Johnson who took this game by the scruff of the neck and brought them kicking and screaming back into the game.
      The Warriors must be the worst team in the comp for allowing other teams fast play the balls.
      And they cant afford this, because most of their players are slow to turn and get back the 10 each tackle.

      Shaun Johnson really is the star of this team, and i can see them going places once they get some help from the back. Sam Tomkins will ignite this team. Their support play is not up to scratch, and Tomkins will be their to finish off the class of Johnson.

      Marshal, even though i think his better days are behind him now,
      Benji to Union is a good fit, he is too far off the pace for rugby league now. They look for him, he just is not their. The slower rugby will suit his style.

      • July 20th 2013 @ 1:09pm
        18thman said | July 20th 2013 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        And I thought it was just me Oikee. What about the touch judge call on Hurrell v Lawrence? Penalties = Possession = Momentum which usually results in Points and a win. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of tries the Warriors get that gets referred “upstairs” compared to other teams. It’s like the refs look for every reason not to award a try to the Warriors.

      • July 21st 2013 @ 12:38pm
        DMC said | July 21st 2013 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        I rarely moan about refereeing, but it was so one-sided and inept that it pretty much ruined the game for me even though my team ended up winning.

        NRL refs are inferior beings who cannot consistently offer objectivity and/or sound judgement. Maybe they should be paid twice as much, might attract some higher quality candidates.

    • July 20th 2013 @ 10:55am
      Dayer said | July 20th 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      I hope Benji reconsiders about not playing for another NRL club because he would be great at the Broncos where his “ad-lib” attacking genius will help the Broncos with their lame attack. Come Broncos help him change his mind, get him to the club…….. NOW!!

    • Roar Rookie

      July 20th 2013 @ 3:17pm
      Vhavnal said | July 20th 2013 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

      mentioned it a few times here already, the Blues should be chasing Shaun Johnson, not Benji Marshall..

      • July 20th 2013 @ 10:37pm
        Suffering Dragon said | July 20th 2013 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

        So should the Dragons..I hear on the rumour vine he is not that content under Mr Elliott.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 21st 2013 @ 11:41am
          Vhavnal said | July 21st 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          yes but Shaun has aspirations of playing at the Olympic games which he can only do with 7’s rugby….2014 will be his last season with warriors before he heads to 7’s rugby for the 2015-16 IRB 7’s series and then may return to league late in 2016 after the Olympics…

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