Wests Tigers assistant coach Benji Marshall is backing Shaun Johnson to win the Dally M Medal after falling short in their attempt to sign him earlier this year. Despite Johnson signing a one-year extension with the Warriors, Marshall believes the veteran No.7 deserves the award for his outstanding performance this season.
Marshall expressed his admiration for Johnson and highlighted his career-best form that has propelled the Warriors to third place on the ladder. Marshall stated, “I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t win the Dally M.”
Marshall further praised Johnson’s game, emphasising his defensive efforts and tackle efficiency. Marshall said, “He is doing the tough things, he’s running the footy, taking the line on.” Marshall explained that Johnson’s ability as a go-to player is what attracted the Wests Tigers to try and sign him. With the Warriors‘ consistent results and Johnson’s exceptional performance, Marshall believes he has a big chance to become only the second Warrior to win the Dally M Medal.
As of Round 12, Johnson was eight points behind leader Payne Haas in the Dally M Medal voting. However, since then, Johnson has played a vital role in the Warriors‘ success, contributing to their seven wins in the past nine games. He has set up 12 tries and scored six himself during this period. Johnson currently ranks second in try assists, trailing only Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater, and leads the NRL in kick metres.
Marshall also spoke highly of the Warriors‘ rapid rise under rookie head coach Andrew Webster. Having experienced Webster’s coaching style firsthand while at the Wests Tigers, Marshall credited him for his exceptional ability to communicate and explain the game of rugby league. Marshall stated, “I’ve never seen a coach be able to talk and explain rugby league and put it in a way where players understand it [like he can], he has a knack.” The Warriors‘ successful season thus far comes as no surprise to Marshall, given his previous experience with Webster.