6 Sep 2011

Marshall claims Dragons favourites for title

8:46 am on 6 September 2011

Melbourne might fear no-one but Wests Tigers superstar Benji Marshall has nominated rejuvenated premiers St George Illawarra as the biggest threat heading into this year's finals series.

The Tigers take on the Dragons in a blockbuster opening to the finals at ANZ Stadium, Marshall adamant there was no point looking beyond Friday night's contest.

There are many pundits who believe this year's premiership winner could emerge from Friday night's contest, and there are some not discounting the possibility that the two could yet battle it out for the main prize at the same venue on the first Sunday in October.

While the Tigers and Dragons have seemingly gathered momentum approaching the finals, the same can't be said of top-two sides Melbourne and Manly.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith pointed to injuries, suspensions and resting policies as contributing factors in the minor premiers' two-game losing streak, and was adamant his side would get back on track against Newcastle on Sunday.

Manly and Melbourne's premiership chances were dealt a huge blow by suspensions to key players, and Brisbane might find themselves in the same boat with forward leader Sam Thaiday in danger of being rubbed out for three games over a dangerous throw.