June 19, 2024

Jayden Sullivan harbors no animosity towards his “No.1 supporter,” Benji Marshall, despite experiencing being benched during Wests Tigers’ initial match of the season. Sullivan aims to reclaim his spot in the starting lineup for the 2024 season but is willing to accept a role on the interchange if that aligns with Marshall’s preferences. The Tigers acquired Sullivan from St George Illawarra amidst a recruitment drive for playmakers, which also included Aidan Sezer and Latu Fainu joining the squad at Concord. However, Sullivan’s tenure in the Tigers’ starting lineup was short-lived, lasting less than a single game.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Jayden Sullivan, young half wants to  learn from senior teammates | NRL.com

Marshall opted to bench the struggling 22-year-old Sullivan during the Tigers’ opening match against Canberra, which resulted in a 20-point defeat for the team. Subsequently, Sezer was chosen to start at halfback in the following week’s game. Sezer, alongside young talent Lachlan Galvin, who secured a convincing 32-6 victory over Cronulla, has been designated as the Tigers’ primary halves combination for the upcoming match against Parramatta.

Sullivan, on the other hand, will continue to serve as a bench utility, a role he occasionally fulfilled during his 27-game stint with the Dragons. However, Sullivan is willing to embrace this role if it aligns with Marshall’s vision for him.

“Benji provided me with some feedback, but that conversation was private between us,” Sullivan disclosed. “He’s incredibly candid, and his words carry weight. Having accomplished so much as a player, he’s now establishing himself as a coach.”

“He encouraged me to remain true to myself. According to Benji, when I stay true to who I am, I perform at my best. That’s the challenge he’s set for me – to consistently be myself on and off the field,” Sullivan added. “He’s been my strongest supporter and advocate.”

Competition for positions within the Tigers’ squad is intensifying. Sezer, Sullivan, Galvin, Fainu, and the injured Doueihi are all competing for the spot alongside Jarome Luai in 2025, once the Penrith five-eighth joins the club. Despite the competition, Sullivan, who is under contract until 2027, remains committed to prioritizing the team’s needs.

“While everyone aspires to start in the NRL, I’m prepared to fulfill whatever role the team requires, whether it’s on the bench or on the field,” Sullivan affirmed. “Putting the team first is paramount, and that’s exactly what I’m focused on.”

Jayden Sullivan is prepared to bide his time as he looks to make an impact at Wests Tigers. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

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