Benji Marshall is happy to play anywhere in the Tigers’ line-up when he returns against South Sydney this weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Benji Marshall is happy to play anywhere in the Tigers’ line-up when he returns against South Sydney this weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Benji fired up after learning tough lessons

A fired up Benji Marshall will have a licence to launch when he returns to the NRL on Friday night after a four-week stint on the sidelines.

Marshall has been given no specific role ahead of the thriller against South Sydney but coach Michael Maguire seems intent on bringing Marshall back into the team in a running role.

"I actually don't know what my proper role is going to be," Marshall said.

"It depends how the game is going.

 

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Benji Marshall is happy to play anywhere in the Tigers’ line-up when he returns against South Sydney this weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Benji Marshall is happy to play anywhere in the Tigers’ line-up when he returns against South Sydney this weekend. Picture: Getty Images

 

"I'll play hooker if Harry (Grant) needs a break or I can come on to play through the middle or maybe at fullback. It's more a utility role."

Maguire dropped Marshall after concerns with his defence in several tight losses, something Marshall has worked hard on over the past month.

"Sometimes when you get dropped it gives you a bit more fire, and I probably needed that fire in my motivation," Marshall said.

"Getting dropped is not the end of the world, it's how you come back."

Marshall is aware he is being given a golden opportunity to resurrect his career.

He trained in various positions before Friday night's game against South Sydney, the irony being he will unlikely play his favoured position, five-eighth.

Yet he remains unconcerned.

 

Benji Marshall has worked hard on his defence at training. Picture: Getty Images
Benji Marshall has worked hard on his defence at training. Picture: Getty Images

 

"It takes the pressure off having to worry about being a playmaker," Marshall said.

"I would prefer to be playing five-eighth but when you have four weeks off and you're watching from the sideline, you don't care."

Marshall said he never considered leaving the Tigers after reports surfaced he was considering finishing his career at other NRL clubs.

"There was interest from other clubs, which felt nice, but as soon as my manager asked me about it I shut it down," he said. "I told him I didn't want to go anywhere."

The Tigers face a battle to retain their top-eight position with clashes against Souths, Brisbane, and Parramatta in the coming weeks.

It's why Maguire is rapt to have Marshall's experience return to the NRL side.

"Benji is back ready to go," Maguire said. "He has been working hard on all the things we have spoken about, and I look forward to having him back.

 

Tigers coach Michael Maguire was full of praise for Benji Marshall’s efforts at training. Picture: Getty Images
Tigers coach Michael Maguire was full of praise for Benji Marshall’s efforts at training. Picture: Getty Images

 

"His presence around the team and what he has been doing in the background, he has shown a real professional period in his career."

Maguire praised Marshall for the classy way he handled his demotion.

"Benji is a champion player and competitors like him ride the wave with the game," he said.

"It (the demotion) was tough news to start with, but he understood and now he has given himself another opportunity to build what we are doing at the club.

"As long as Benji is involved, he is happy.

"Even when I told him (he was dropped) he had the smile on his face even though it hurts.

"It is part of what you want from your players is to be able to go through the ups and downs and take your lessons. That is definitely what Benji has done."

Maguire also confirmed veteran Chris Lawrence was in line to play in the centres following Joey Leilua's four-game suspension.

Lawrence trained in the centres in the captain's run on Thursday, although Michael Chee Kam is also an option in the outside backs.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Benji fired up after learning tough lessons



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