Marshall magic guides Tigers to win over Storm

Benji Marshall was back to his electrifying best scoring a hat-trick in the Tigers 26-14 win over the Melbourne Storm at a sold-out Leichhardt Oval.

It all started with a trademark flick pass as Tigers five-eighth Marshall guided the Tigers to a win over a Melbourne Storm side feeling the effects of not playing for points.

Despite Marshall’s strong performance however, Tim Sheens has lingering concerns about the Tigers casualty ward that is increasing every week.

The player in the most strife from injury is boom centre Chris Lawrence, who left the field with a broken jaw late on in the game.

Nursing an already weakened jaw from an incident earlier in the season, the fresh hit only made matters worse for Lawrence, and the culprit, Jeff Lima wasn’t placed on report for what appeared to be a somewhat innocuous hit.

“They’re operating on him tonight (Sunday) at six o’clock and if we’re still there in a month he’ll be back,” Sheens said.

“I’d like to hope the boys play well enough to give him another opportunity.

Veteran John Skandalis was also injured in the game, suffering a nasty buttocks injury, that has all but ended his season. To make matters worse, fullback Wade McKinnon will miss out next week with a re-occurrence of his hamstring injury.

The news doesn’t get better for the Tigers on the injury front with Bryce Gibbs suffering a knee injury, Liam Fulton a calf problem, and in-form second rower Gareth Ellis, suffering a nasty cork. Ellis is the only man in with a chance of playing next week.

“Luckily it’s not the first semi,” Sheens said.

“But look, we’ve been a strong club this year, we’ve made the semis at Wests and with Balmain in the (NSW Cup) and I think we’re one game off in the 20’s.

It wasn’t all roses for the Tigers though with coach Tim Sheens giving them a major spray after an inconsistent first-half.

Despite the loss, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy praised the efforts of his players, and they now turn their attentions to a big send-off for the fans at home next week.

“We had the gastric (bug) go through our place during the week and Adam Blair, I don’t think he trained, Dane Nielsen missed a fair bit and Greg (Inglis) didn’t end up playing today he was that crook .. so it wasn’t an ideal week,” said Bellamy.

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