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Wests Tigers centre Esan Marsters.

Esan Marsters is the first to admit he can't rest on his laurels this season, knowing he has a target on his back after his break-out season in 2018.

After two games Marsters is already feeling the heat from rivals, who are mindful of the fact he was the only centre in the NRL to reach 3,000 run metres and 49 offloads last year, along with being the Wests Tigers' leading point-scorer.

The Kiwi international told that the amount of talent waiting to get a start and coach Michael Maguire's ruthless nature each week means he can never drop his guard.

"It's been a new challenge for me this year. With just two rounds gone I feel like I've been marked a bit harder than I was last year," Marsters said.

"It's also been a tough challenge fighting for our positions each week and having to perform when we get the opportunity.

"Each week at training as well our oppose sessions are tough and there's some really healthy competition there that has definitely lifted the standard in the squad.

Wests Tigers centre Esan Marsters.
Wests Tigers centre Esan Marsters. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"Each and every one of us want to make sure we don't want to have a bad game, especially under Madge (Maguire)." 

The likes of Josh Reynolds, Paul Momirovski, Matt Eisenhuth and Chris McQueen, who were named as the reserves this weekend, have been unable to establish regular first-grade spots, while David Nofaluma and Chris Lawrence are still to come back from injury.

Wests Tigers winger Corey Thompson said competition for spots was intensely competitive but always friendly.

Wests Tigers v Bulldogs - Round 3

He said the players have been supportive of each other regardless of who is selected.

"If you are willing to improve each week or put in a good performance then there are plenty of boys that want that spot," Thompson said.

"But in saying that the boys who aren't playing are really supportive with the team that gets picked.

"Even through they're not in the team they're striving to make the team better, which is a real selfless act. They're watching from the reserve grade and they're tipping us up if there's areas we can work on."

With the Canterbury Bulldogs adding five new faces to Sunday's line-up, Thompson expects the Tigers to come out guns blazing at Campbelltown Stadium after their poor start to the season. 

"The Bulldogs would be pissed off and disappointed with how they played over the first two rounds so they're going to come out firing," he said.  

"They've got a great team on paper - they started strong against Parramatta and it was only a couple of errors that got the Eels back into the game. 

"We've got to be ready for them - they're going to come out for the whole 80 minutes wanting to prove a point so we need to just stick to our game plan. 

"All the boys they have coming in are going to enthusiastic and will want to prove their spot."



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Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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