Marshall has plenty to offer club: Creagh

Benji Marshall's first day of training as a Dragon at WIN Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR
Benji Marshall's first day of training as a Dragon at WIN Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR


They've carved out a reputation as the second-chance saloon specialists, enough to convince Dragons skipper Ben Creagh that Benji Marshall can help turn around St George Illawarra's flagging fortunes.

Joining a list that has included Nathan Fien, Mark Gasnier and Josh Dugan in recent seasons, the Dragons rolled out their latest mid-season acquisition in Wollongong on Tuesday.

Fien's switch from the Warriors mid-way through 2009 helped spur Wayne Bennett's side to the minor premiership while Gasnier aided the Dragons in breaking their 31-year title drought after he fled rugby union in 2010.

St George Illawarra lifted Dugan off the scrapheap last season as he vaulted to State Of Origin honours shortly after, and Marshall's signature created a similar buzz.

Creagh warned his teammates not to expect Marshall to be the cure-all for their wretched form but knows what an astute signing the former Tiger could be.

"Most mid-season signings have played pretty well for us," Creagh said. "We had Nathan Fien in 2009 and we had Gaz [Gasnier] in 2010.

"Most of those buys have turned out pretty well with players who wanted to prove something.

"Some of them had left rugby league [and] come back, some had gone to other teams looking for an opportunity and seem to have a lot to prove and that's great.

"They're highly driven, motivated people like Benji is and that's really good for the team.

"I don't know if he's the answer to all our problems but it's nice to have a player like that," Creagh said.

Marshall's inclusion in a Dragons backline already boasting a wealth of attacking talent is a mouth-watering one for Red V fans.

When he does make his debut it's likely to be alongside New Zealand internationals Jason Nightingale and Gerard Beale, with halves partner Gareth Widdop a fully fledged English international.

"He's a special player and there's a certain aura about him that players like to be around," Beale said.

"For him to be here it's certainly going to add an extra dimension and give the players a lot of confidence as well.

"It's going to be exciting when he gets to put on the Red V."

Meanwhile, coach Steve Price resisted the urge to make wholesale changes for the match with Parramatta with Mike Cooper the only player missing from the side that was flogged 38-6 by the Bulldogs last week. He has a minor arm injury.

Will Matthews comes into the 17 for Cooper on the interchange bench while Leeson Ah Mau was promoted to the starting lineup and veteran prop Dan Hunt shifted to the bench.

Young-gun Jack de Belin will make his 50th appearance for the Dragons from the bench.

Nightingale was named on the wing after he missed the loss to the Bulldogs with a knee injury but Price said the New Zealand international was only an "outside chance" of playing.


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