Benji Marshall wants to rediscover best form
A candid Benji Marshall admits his poor form is a major factor in the Wests Tigers' disappointing start to the season and is desperate to rediscover what made him one of the best players in the NRL.
The injury-ravaged Tigers sit at the foot of the NRL ladder having lost seven top-line players with coach Mick Potter forced to include a raft of inexperienced youngsters in his side over the last month.
But Marshall said he must shoulder a share of the blame for the side's five successive defeats - the latest being a 40-4 shellacking by Canterbury last Friday.
The New Zealand superstar is still nursing a toe problem that recently ruled him out for two weeks and knows he needs to step up against Cronulla on Friday at Allianz Stadium.
"Even before I was injured I wasn't sure with where I was at with my form," Marshall said on Tuesday.
"My job is to provide attack and direction to the team and that hasn't really happened this year.
"I don't really know what to put it down to."
A collection of Marshall's flick passes could fill a highlights reel of their own, but the 28-year-old said he needs to focus less on the spectacular and get back to basics.
"When you become a ball player you start to believe you are a ball player more than a runner," he said.
"I want to go back to being a runner first and a ball player second.
"Instead of worrying about putting other people over I need to start going for the line myself."
The Tigers have once again named a youthful side for the clash with the Sharks and Marshall has urged the likes of James Tedesco and Curtis Sironen to have the confidence to back themselves.
"I can't say too much to those boys when I am not stepping up," he said.
"But when I came in I was a bit shy, but guys like John Skandalis, Mark O'Neill and Benny Galea would sit me down and tell me that I needed to come out of my shell.
"They said 'we may be older than you, but we're your forwards and we need you to talk to us'.
"That made me feel really comfortable and I think we have the same sort of thing here.
"A lot of the guys are a little bit shy in expressing what they think.
"You can see they want to say something but they don't want to. And that is half the battle."