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“Exceptional”: the NRL loses the recovery of Benji Marshall’s Tigers


Benji Marshall has been hailed as exactly the right man to topple the Tigers after inspiring the reigning wooden spoons to back-to-back Round 4 wins.

The Tigers’ thrilling 17-16 win over the Eels came after their 32-0 shutout of the Sharks and suddenly the back-to-back wooden spoons look like a potential finals-bound team.

“Let’s be positive about Benji Marshall,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.

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“Now Benji has managed to come out of it after this first defeat. We wondered if he wasn’t spending enough time training. Many people thought the same thing.

“Let’s give him some credit. He had a few nice wins in a row. He probably put them in the best position they’ve been in in a very long time. If you look at the team and the points conceded, the growth and the youth, what do you think?

Phil Rothfield believes Marshall’s ability to stay relaxed under pressure is rubbing off on his players and the proof is in their performances.

“He’s doing remarkably,” Rothfield said.

“I think the West Tigers needed something different. You know, they’d had Madge, they’d had Tim Sheens and things hadn’t worked out and they needed a breath of fresh air. Someone with new ideas. Someone was ready to harm the children.

“Someone who saw something in Adian Sezer that no other club like Canterbury saw when you’re looking for an experienced halfback to guide them in the short term.

“I love that he played golf today. He’s not nervous. He played golf this morning, apparently.

“I don’t know what he shot, but he’s a very good golfer. He played at Concord on game day.

“And to me, that’s a really encouraging sign that he’s not overdoing it.” He is relaxed.

Paul Kent believes Marshall is the circuit breaker Tigers players needed after years of failure because he does things differently.

“I think what he’s doing is he’s giving the players a different message than what they’ve been hearing for a while,” Kent said.

“And he really focuses on getting everyone on board.” And listen, we hear this a thousand times a year, it’s about the jersey and playing for the jersey.

“But Benji so far, over these last couple of weeks, there’s been a very obvious commitment to each other and just showing up and playing the game. Just stay in the competition, show up. you and prepare your defense.

“All these little things that the coaches talk about and Benji talked about, he was able to do them over the last two weeks.

“And you see, there’s a clear difference between the West Tigers and the way they move within themselves.”

Gorden Tallis praised Marshall for not trying to be someone else while coaching the Tigers.

“I think the great thing about Benji is he’s going to coach like Benji does,” Tallis said.

“I look at a lot of people and I think because Craig Bellamy works so hard, they think they have to coach like Craig.

“Craig is Craig. People think they can coach like Wayne. Wayne is Wayne. Wayne leaves the clubs and all these assistant coaches think they can do Wayne.

“Benji will fend for himself. I think the best thing about Benji is that he’s going to stay true to himself.

“And if it’s less time, playing golf and relaxing, but his message before the match, I was sitting there and when he spoke to us, he was as confident as any coach I’ve ever heard. A Wayne Bennett speech delivered by a young man coaching his third game.

“He kind of knew it and then I’m sitting there, well, I played a lot but I like the messages he delivered. So if I’m in his dressing room, I like what Benji does.

Anasta believes the drastic changes on defense are a massive sign of growth for the Tigers under Marshall.

“When you defend well, you trust the player next to you and you trust your coach and the system that Benji has in place,” Anasta said.

“So at the moment they believe in him and you can see it in their performance.”

Originally published as ‘Exceptional’: NRL loses Benji Marshall’s Tigers turnaround


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