Tigers of old return to frustrate Marshall

Scott Bailey |

Tigers coach Benji Marshall has described his side’s loss to the Dragons as their worst of 2024.
Tigers coach Benji Marshall has described his side’s loss to the Dragons as their worst of 2024.

Benji Marshall has labelled his side’s loss to St George Illawarra as their worst of the year, after a bumbling Wests Tigers showed their makeover won’t come without some hurdles.

The Tigers made too many early errors and gave away easy penalties in their 24-12 loss to the Dragons, in front of a sold-out Campbelltown Stadium.

Off from the opening few moments when they gave away a penalty and let Zac Lomax score untouched, the Tigers were only briefly in the contest for a period in the first half.

In doing so, they looked a world away from the team who had held their gloves up against Parramatta a fortnight ago, and did a job on Cronulla the week before that.

It is clear the team are a better side under Marshall this year, but on Sunday they were definitely closer to the Tigers of old who have claimed the last two wooden spoons.

Zac Lomax.
Zac Lomax (2) celebrates with Dragons teammates after scoring at Campbelltown. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“That was probably our worst performance this season,” Marshall said after his team slipped to a 2-3 record.

“I talk about standards … and today was probably the furthest we were away from the things we’ve talked about doing and practising.

“We’re a team who’s still trying to figure out how we win and find our way through it.

“And today, I thought we bumbled around a lot. We were looking for a soft way to win at the start. Instead of earning the right.”

The Tigers will bring back five-eighth Lachlan Galvin against Penrith in Bathurst next week, with his suspension for a hip-drop tackle over.

They lacked the 18-year-old’s spark and direct attack against the Dragons, but also must be better in discipline and defence against the three-time defending premiers.

“When you want to play a physical style that’s pretty direct, you have to choose every week to turn up with the right headspace and be physical,” Marshall said.

“And it’s hard. I think we’re still understanding that doesn’t just happen.

“You have to turn up every week and make it happen. We’re very disappointed because we know we’re better.”

David Klemmer could be at risk of missing that match after being placed on report for two separate high tackles in the loss.