“I never thought I would have ended up playing full-back but I think it was the best move for me.” Those are the words of Matty Marsh, a man who has scored six tries in the Knights’ last two matches.
Indeed, prior to joining York initially on a dual-registration basis from Hull KR in our Betfred League One title-winning season and, latterly, permanently from the start of last season, 24-year-old Marsh had played his whole career with The Robins as a recognised half-back. Now, however, he isn’t looking back. “I’ve learnt so much from Fordy and I’ve still got a lot of improvement to make but I feel my game has developed a lot since signing here,” Marsh remarked.
After signing, he fast turned into a fans’ favourite for his excellent support play and try scoring exploits – both of which were encapsulated perfectly in 70-12 victory over Rochdale where Marsh crossed for four tries while running in excess of 250 metres.
The match prior to the Coral Challenge Cup victory over the Hornets, the full-back crossed for another two tries – the first of which finishing off his own kick – in what was his 100th career appearance and 46th for the Knights. He, however, didn’t even realise it was a milestone appearance for him, admitting that he had no idea! “I only found out after the game on twitter but I’m really happy to have passed the hundred mark,” he noted, adding that he hopes to make plenty more in the amber and black.
He will be keen to no doubt add to those appearances in the league once the campaign resumes, a league campaign where the Knights currently remain winless after four Betfred Championship matches. Head coach James Ford has remarked previously that he believes the team has been very close to putting great performances in and, after the excellent showing against Rochdale, Marsh had much the same thought, adding that there is a lot of room for improvement. “We haven’t been anywhere near the standard that we want but we have been very close to playing well.”
“Large parts of our games we’ve done things right but just let ourselves down in other parts,” he explained. Indeed, the team have been in high spirits and have a clear belief that results will turn if they keep putting in similar performances. “We’ve kept really positive at training because we know that performances are coming and we took a good step forward against Rochdale,” Marsh added.
It was only a few days following that victory that the season was put on hold and, with that, the team’s training sessions at the York St John Sports Park. While a lot of the nation is currently indoors, however, Marsh is still a busy man. “At the moment I’m still working on site,” he told the Knights’ website, “so I’m not at home for the majority of the week but it’s still really weird being at home every night! Somehow I’ve got loads of jobs to do around the house all of a sudden,” he joked.
The break in the season will no doubt have led to plenty of rugby league players around the country reflecting on their season’s so far and where to improve – the Knights and Marsh are no different. “Last time out we took a massive step forward towards the standards that we want to play at and that gives us confidence going into the next games, whenever they may be,” the full-back noted. “We know we still have to massively improve to get the results in the league and we’ve identified where these improvements need to be,” he added.
Once the season does recommence, the Knights’ players and staff will no doubt be looking forward to their Coral Challenge Cup clash against Castleford Tigers, their reward for defeating Rochdale. “I think it’s a great draw for us,” Marsh remarked, continuing that “we want to challenge ourselves against the best and Castleford are up there at the top.” With the Knights only having had one home match so far this season, the club are delighted to have been drawn out first in the clash and last season’s top try-scorer is keen for the vocal home following to push the team on in that encounter. “We know it’s going to be a big, big crowd and the atmosphere will be outstanding. As a player, that’s one of the main reasons for playing rugby – being part of the big games!” Marsh added.
That following is something that Marsh has seen grow in his time with the club and also noted of its’ importance in helping the team across the line in tight matches. “I’ve loved every minute playing for this club, especially with what we have achieved in the past couple of years and to see the fanbase get bigger and bigger each week is exactly what we want!” the Hull-born flier outlined.
“They helped us through plenty of games last year and it’s great to be at a club that has such a good following at every game. It’s exciting to see the direction in which the club is going both on and off the field and I’m really happy to be a part of that.