Is Jeremy Marshall-King in the NRL’s top five?

It’s the Magic Round and the Dolphins are on the troop.

The Dolphins had fought and battled their way into the NRL and they weren’t about to give up now. It was a Magic Round after all. Desperate and in need of a miracle, they turn to their groundskeeper.

The fullback was self-confessed overweight and had only ever played a handful of rugby league games, let alone played in the NRL. But the overweight groundskeeper has one thing: the spirit of a Dolphin.

A seemingly impossible task was put on the overweight landkeeper. not only does he have to make his NRL debut, he has to take on the power of Siosifa Talaka; the huge superstar of the state of origin.

Well, the overweight groundskeeper completely dominates Talaki. In front of Lang Park’s deaf crows, he crosses for two tries, beating defenders left and right. Dolphin spirit coursing through his veins, he leads the battered Dolphins to defeat the heavyweight Sharks in the first-ever Battle of the Fins.

Yes, I know it’s misleading to refer to Valence Te War as an overweight groundskeeper. He is an exceptionally talented rugby union recruit from New Zealand who had a brief stint as Dolphins groundskeeper. And yes, I also know Talaki had a pretty good night too.

But I don’t care about those “facts”. And neither are the Dolphins. See, the Dolphins are building an identity. they are the naysayers. Fighters always defy the odds. They are David and the whole NRL is Goliath.

And I believe no Dolphins player embodies this new identity better than Jeremy Marshall-King.

A few years ago, JMK came out and said his goal was to be in the top five in the game. It’s a brave thing to do: put your goals out into the world. It was met with derision as online cowards mocked him. Shortly after, he was unwanted by the Bulldogs and found a new home with the Dolphins.

Well, JMK has now achieved that goal.

After the Magic Round, Marshall-King’s attacking stats look better than any other NRL idol.

(Photo by Bradley Canaris/Getty Images)

JMK has the most try passes (seven), the most equal lineout passes (six) and the most tries (11) of any NRL hooker. In comparison, Harry Grant has five attempted passes, four line passes and nine tackles. JMK only managed to do so in eight games, while Storm rake in nine.

Marshall-King is also equal second in average running meters per game, level with Damien Cook and behind Rhys Robson, but is once again ahead of the game’s consensus best runner, Grant.

JMK is also underperforming defensively, averaging 39 tackles per game.

But statistics alone aren’t everything. There are also intangible factors. JMK is far from the senior player in the Dolphins’ spine, making him a leader at the NRL’s newest club. The fact that the Dolphins are fifth in their first year in the NRL, you’d consider pretty lucky too.

Realistically, Grant is head and shoulders above the best course in the game. At present, however, JMK is sitting right behind him.

It’s meant as a complement, but I’m not sure he’ll take it as one. Nor will the Dolphins be loyal.

JMK will face Grant next weekend. The stage is set for David vs. Gollight again. And if you think you know which way to go, think again. Because you know about the dolphin spirit? And have you heard of the overweight groundskeeper?

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