Hopoate thinks Marshall will shine

Will Hopoate reckons Benji Marshall will come out running. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Will Hopoate reckons Benji Marshall will come out running. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

RUGBY LEAGUE

BENJI Marshall can quickly recapture the form that made him a rugby league superstar, says Will Hopoate.

Parramatta centre Hopoate is a chance of a call-up to the NSW side next week after his impressive form upon returning to rugby league this season after a two-year Mormon mission.

Marshall wasn't named in the St George Illawarra side to play the Eels at Parramatta on Saturday.

Dragons coach Steve Price said he will defer a decision until later in the week.

Marshall's ill-fated defection to rugby union ended on Easter Monday when he severed ties with Super Rugby's Auckland-based Blues.

Hopoate said the former Wests Tigers premiership winner can be a force in the NRL again.

"For sure he can," Hopoate said at Eels training on Wednesday.

"He seems like a natural ball player and he wasn't too far away from footy in general.

"So he still got to have the ball in his hands playing rugby union.

"It is good to see him back ... playing rugby league. If Benji is to play, that will be a bonus for Saints."

Hopoate played one game for NSW in 2011 before a hamstring injury struck him down and he said he was happy to be in the mix again for interstate selection.

"It's humbling to hear comments like that.

"I'm happy just to be back playing the sport I love and whatever happens off the back of playing for the Parramatta Eels, I will deal with.

"With each week, I'm more confident and positive but right now the focus is on the blue and gold."

Forward David Gower said the Eels expected Marshall to play.

"He will probably play and if he does it will be great for rugby league but we are not going to look too far into that," he said. - AAP

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