‘I’m really keen to secure the spot’

Published 1:00pm 16 January 2023

‘I’m really keen to secure the spot’
Words by Kylie Knight

It was a gruelling training session for the Dolphins’ NRL squad this morning, as they head into the pointy end of preseason ahead of their first trial game on February 4.

See the photo gallery at the end of this story.

For hooker Jeremy Marshall-King, it was another chance to impress coach Wayne Bennett and make the position his own.

“I’m really keen to secure the spot. Wayne’s told us that no spot’s secure, you’ve got to really work hard for it to make it your own,” Marshall-King said during a post-training press conference.

“I said this last preseason, when I was at Bulldogs, I want to be a top-five hooker in the comp. Not trying to be arrogant, but I just really want to make my mark as a hooker. I’ve been in the system for about six years now and I think it’s time to take another step in my performance as a hooker.

“I’m just really keen to put this jersey on. The forward pack that we’ve got now … with the Bromwich brothers and Kaufusi there as well … I’m just really excited and can’t wait.”

‘I’m really keen to secure the spot’

Hard work pays off

Marshall-King had a break-out year in 2022 for the Canterbury Bulldogs and was named the club’s Player of the Year at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old also represented New Zealand at the World Cup before making the move to the Dolphins.

After a short break and a couple of weeks back at training, he’s feeling good and keen to work hard on his fitness which was put to the test this morning.

“That’s what preseason’s for. It’s not the easiest thing. The boys are really working hard. It was a tough session today and we’ve just got to build from it now,” he said.

“I felt alright, just trying to get the legs ticking over again and getting back into it. I pulled up pretty fine. I’ve just got to keep building my fitness and my game.”

He said he would also bring the right attitude to the club, which has its fair share of doubters.

“You’ve got to have the right attitude. Wayne’ brought that up and said to us at the start, ‘if you don’t want to be here, don’t be here … leave the club’,” Marshall-King said.

“The boys are all buying into what he’s putting towards this club.”

‘I’m really keen to secure the spot’

Brotherly advice?

So, has older brother Benji Marshall given him tips on what it’s like to be coached by Bennett?

“He’s told me a few things about Wayne … what sort of coach he is. I’m just really looking forward to playing under Wayne,” Marshall-King said.

When asked how it felt to have a strong 2022 season, building his own game and reputation, he said it had given him the confidence to take it further.

“I hate it when people say you’re following your brother. I’ve always wanted to make my own name. He’ll tell you that as well. It’s really great to have a breakout season last year and I’m only going to build from it and go that extra step,” he said.

“I’ve got a running game. I’ve just got to own that middle and make it my own. The forward pack around me … international players … I know they will get me forward and it will bring me into the game, that’s for sure.”

Check out the photo gallery

Photos by Dominika Lis

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