Tigers roar home to set up Leichhardt blockbuster
Benji Marshall's contract is worth $170,000 this year. Ben Hunt is on a reported $1.2 million.
You talk about getting bang for your buck.
On a glorious Sunday afternoon at the SCG, Benji turned back the clock with a mesmerising performance in a slashing 42-14 flogging that just added more misery to St George Illawarra's disastrous season.
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But it sets up a mouth-watering final round clash for the Tigers against Cronulla next Sunday at Leichhardt Oval with Robbie Farah's fitness now set to become the biggest rugby league talking point of the coming week.
Benji couldn't have done much more to give his old mate a chance for a miracle comeback from his broken leg, with the veteran playmaker scoring one terrific solo try while he set up two more in the seven tries to two thumping.
In what is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated matches of the season, Farah came off his crutches this week and has started running but he is still considered a long shot of running out next Sunday in what could also be Paul Gallen's final NRL game.
Benji and halves partner Luke Brooks were outstanding after Marshall was moved from dummy half into the halves when Josh Reynolds came into the game late in the first half.
Young centre Paul Momirovski celebrated his first NRL hat-trick along with landing seven goals for a personal tally of 26 points.
The Tigers hold the longest finals drought of any NRL club having not made the play offs since 2011 under Tim Sheens.
But they now have earned the opportunity to own their own destiny after what has been a terrific coaching performance in his first year at the club from Michael Maguire.
The Tigers' win also sunk Newcastle's hopes of making the top eight.
HUNT OUT OF HIS DEPTH
While Marshall is yet to decide if he will play on next year Dragons fans would have to be more worried than ever about Hunt's crisis of confidence.
The star halfback has a lucrative deal that runs until the end of 2022 but the way he has played this year you just can't see how the Dragons could have any faith in him being the man that can take them to where they want to go.
At Origin level Queensland has made a call that Hunt's best position is dummy half and the same goes with Mal Meninga in respect to the Australian Test team.
But the Dragons won't be moving Cameron McInnes from the hooker role anytime soon given he has been the club's best this year.
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Hunt had another forgettable performance with his decision making just not up to scratch.
An early tackle grubber kick in just the fifth minute led to the Tigers' opening try that Benji set up for Momirovski with a lovely cut out pass, while on another occasion Hunt was caught in possession on the fifth tackle that two sets later ended in another Momirovski touchdown before a clearing kick went soaring over the sideline on the full.
There is going to be even more pressure on Hunt next year when Gareth Widdop heads back to the Super League.
The Dragons didn't have much to play for but even so it was another awful performance and it only intensifies the pressure on coach Paul McGregor.
WESTS TIGERS 42 (P Momirovski 3 L Brooks L Garner B Marshall E Taylor tries P Momirovski 7 goals) bt ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 14 (E Aitken G Widdop tries G Widdop 3 goals) at Sydney Cricket Ground. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Ziggy Przeklasa- Adamski. Crowd: 9,136