Benji Marshall’s try in the 24th minute of Saturday night’s Charity Shield clash was an encouraging sign that St George Illawarra’s 2015 campaign may not be the disaster many doomsayers are predicting.
The veteran Kiwi half skipped to the outside, threw a dummy and fended off South Sydney young gun Luke Keary to score in a trademark flash of individual brilliance.
Marshall, with a full pre-season at the Dragons under his belt, looks lean, composed and confident. After the horrors of his final season with Wests Tigers and a failed rugby union stint, the 2010 Golden Boot winner is set to add another wonderful chapter to a remarkable career.
It was a rare highlight in the 12-all draw – incredibly, the fifth tied result in 32 Charity Shield encounters – that was riddled with handling errors, although a few youngsters put their hands up for Round 1 inclusion.
Nines revelation Eto Nabuli superbly set up Charly Runciman for the Saints’ other try, while Sam Manuleleua and Chris Grehvsmuhl scored in the last 17 minutes to help the Rabbitohs pull off a fortunate draw.
A knee injury to star fullback Josh Dugan, which may keep him out of the season opener, was the big story of the night.