Benji Marshall will make a splash - Hopoate

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 03:50 15/05/2014
Benji Marshall
Getty Images
READY AND WAITING: Benji Marshall will make his return to the NRL with the St George Illawarra Dragons soon, with Eels centre Will Hopoate predicting him to star again.

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Benji Marshall can quickly recapture the form that made him a rugby league superstar says Will Hopoate, a man who knows a thing or two about NRL comebacks.

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

Benji Marshall hasn't been named in the St George Illawarra side to play the Eels at Parramatta on Saturday, with coach Steve Price saying 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 Blues and 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 in the game 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.

"Its humbling to hear comments like that," he said.

"I'm happy just to be back playing the sport I love and whatever happens off the back of playing for Parramatta 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 were expecting Marshall to play on Saturday.

"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," Gower said.

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