McGregor tells Marshall to prove fitness

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor says star Benji Marshall will have to prove his fitness on the field before the club can make a judgment call on his NRL future.

The off-contract Marshall has been plagued by a problematic hamstring that has prevented him from stringing together more than two games in a row this season.

The 31-year-old made a successful return from his latest injury battle in the side’s 14-10 win over North Queensland on Saturday night, but McGregor said Marshall will have to do more to earn a new deal.

“It’s good to see him back but unfortunately for Benji and the team, he’s only put two games together at any stretch this year,” McGregor said.

“It’s important he plays three to four games in a row so he can play to his best, because it’s very hard for a halfback to play one week out, out the next, play two games, and out three.

“You can’t get any momentum going.

“Benji, at the moment, just needs to play good footy for the club and we’re looking forward to that.”

McGregor said he enjoyed coaching the former New Zealand international, but also admitted that the decision to offer him a contract extension was out of his hands.

He urged Marshall to prove his worth on the paddock.

“That’s something out of my hands. That’s up to our recruitment and retention guys,” he said.

“But I’ve always said I really enjoy coaching Benji. He brings a lot to our side.

“At the moment we’re trying to get him to stay on the football field more than anything else. With that, he’ll play some consistent footy and help everyone’s cause.”

The Dragons, who moved back into the top eight with the win, have the bye next week before facing Canterbury in round 12.

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