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Marsters stroke: Grateful Esan excited for call-up after COVID-free start

There's no denying the excitement Esan Marsters has after being called up for the Titans' clash against the Dragons, particularly after a two tough years with very limited footy under COVID conditions during the worldwide pandemic.

Only playing four games in Gold Coast colours last year after a mid-season switch from the North Queensland Cowboys, the strike centre was starved of footy after Project Apollo guidelines prohibited the 25-year-old from going even back and playing in the Hostplus Cup in the weeks he wasn't running out with the top 17.

But after a standout performance in the pre-season trial match earlier this year against the Broncos and biding his time playing for Burleigh in recent weeks to remind coach Justin Holbrook of his immense talent, the New Zealand-born outside back is thrilled to return to the big stage, especially in front of a sellout crowd at the NRL's Magic Round. 

"It's going to be my first game of the year for the club and it's always exciting getting out there and playing," Marsters said.

"It's good to be back, especially this weekend being Magic Round in Brisbane... it's going to be exciting with a lot of people there.

"I know it's going to be a tough game against the Dragons and I just need to go out there and do my best and do what's required for the team."

Playing only limited minutes in 2021, the 80-gamer's focus this season has been trying to get as much footy under his belt as possible, which has helped him earn a recall back to the top grade.

"The only focus for me was just playing footy I guess," Marsters said.

"Last year, especially with COVID, there wasn't much footy played last year, so it's always good to play some footy during the weekend to get your minutes up.

"Coming back into the team... it's been tough for the boys for the past couple of weeks and I've been been here every week, so it's exciting to be back but we've got a job to do this weekend.

"The boys that are coming in, like myself... we really have to help the team this week to get back on track do a good job."

Although the Titans' left edge has been widely criticised for their performance in Saturday's tough loss to the Roosters, Marsters and the squad feel they could all make improvements - especially in defence - to get back in the winner's circle.

"I think it falls across the whole park. The left edge can't really cope too much. We watched the video and there were missed tackles, only two people in the tackle when there's normally three... that stuff does effect the edges," Marsters said.

"If we can get our tackles right together, I think that's what's going to help both edges, not just the left. I know they copped a lot last week, and I think it's pretty unfair for them and as a team, we've got to go out there and help them as well.

"Being on the edge, I know what it's like so if we come together as a team this weekend, I think we'll have a strong performance."

Replacing Patrick Herbert (calf strain) at right centre, Marsters is oozing with excitement to don Titans colours again in his first game of the season, given he knows how special every NRL opportunity is.

"It was pretty tough last year not playing footy, but starting the year being able to get some minutes in and being able to get on the field was special," Marsters said.

"I'm just grateful that I have the opportunity to come to training every day and train with these boys.

"You never know when it's going to end, so I'm just grateful to be here today and hopefully we can get the win this week."

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.