Gareth Widdop in stellar halves performance with Benji Marshall

Gareth Widdop

Gareth Widdop

Benji Marshall admitted he struggled to prepare for the occasion, but it was St George Illawarra's desire to stay in the top-eight race which ensured victory over his former club Wests Tigers.

It was 11 years to the day since he set the rugby league world alight on debut for the Tigers.

Marshall admitted it was a surreal experience running out against the club where he won the 2005 premiership.

It was a solid rather than spectacular performance from the former Kiwi Test captain up against his old club.

He happily played second fiddle to a virtuoso performance by halves partner Gareth Widdop in the 28-12 victory.

"It was a bit surreal playing against the old club and looking across and seeing your mates that you played with for so long," Marshall said.

"There were times in the game where I was a bit phased out by the occasion but Gareth just took over and really stood up today."

Marshall said coach Paul McGregor took the pressure off him during the week by simplifying his role and demanding his teammates lift around him.

"It was hard to prepare for to be honest. I just tried to make it not about me and make it about the team needing the two points," Marshall said.

"[McGregor] said to the whole team that I'm one of them now and to look after me out there and the boys did that.

"It wasn't my best game but I just played a pretty basic role and let Gareth bring the flair.

"I'll put it all behind me now.

"They'll [Tigers] be my mates no matter what but I'll just carry on here."