‘Outstanding’: NRL loses it Benji Marshall’s Tigers turnaround

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Benji Marshall has been lauded as exactly the right man for the job of turning around the Tigers after he inspired the reigning wooden spooners to back-to-back wins in Round 4.

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 spooners are looking 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 copped it after that first loss. There were questions about whether he’s spending not enough time at training. A lot of people thought the same.

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

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

“He’s going outstanding,” Rothfield said.

“I think the West Tigers needed something different. You know, they’d had Madge, they’d had Tim Sheens and things didn’t work out and they needed a breath of fresh air. Someone with new ideas. Someone prepared to take a punt on kids.

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

“I love the fact he played golf today. He’s not on edge. 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 that to me is a really encouraging sign that he’s not overcoaching. He’s relaxed.”

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

“I think what he’s doing is he’s delivering a different message to the players than what they’ve heard for some time,” Kent said.

“And he’s really concentrated hard on the buy-in of everybody. And look, we hear that a thousand times a year, it’s about the jersey and playing for the jersey.

“But Benji so far in these past two weeks, there’s been a real obvious commitment to each other and to just turning up and making the play. Just stay in the contest and turn up and just get your defence right.

“All those little things that coaches talk about and Benji was talking about, he’s been able to pull it off in the past two weeks.

“And you’re seeing it, there’s a clear difference in the West Tigers and just how they’re getting around in themselves.”

Gorden Tallis commended Marshall for not trying to be somebody else in coaching the Tigers.

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

“I watch a lot of people and I think because Craig Bellamy works so hard, they think they’ve got to coach like Craig.

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

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

“And whether it is less time and play golf and relax, but his message before the game, I was sitting there and then when he spoke to us, it was as confident as any coach that I’ve ever heard from. A Wayne Bennett speech from a young bloke coaching his third game.

“He sort of knew it and then I’m sitting there going, well, I’ve played a lot but I like the messages that he delivered. So if I’m in his dressing room, I like what Benji’s doing.”

Anasta believes the strong changes in defence is 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, which Benji has put in place,” Anasta said.

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

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