Benji bites back at work ethic claim as Tigers coach

Scott Bailey |

Benji Marshall is “disappointed” with talk he’s not pulling his weight as Tigers coach.
Benji Marshall is “disappointed” with talk he’s not pulling his weight as Tigers coach.

A frustrated Benji Marshall has bit back at questions over his work ethic, pointing to his own longevity as a player and rejecting any suggestions he takes shortcuts.

Before he has officially coached a game at Wests Tigers, Marshall has been subject to a report he works less hours than other coaches.

This week’s Daily Telegraph report also claimed Marshall arrived at training well after other staff and warned he could quickly fall on the coaching scrap heap.

The Tigers legend emphatically denied those claims on Friday, and admitted he was annoyed by the article in the lead up to his first game fully in charge against Canberra on Saturday.

“You don’t play 347 games with a poor work ethic,” Marshall said.

“The timing when we’re about to play our first game, haven’t coached a game officially is disappointing.

“I didn’t want to have to justify the way I do things, but what I don’t like is when things are told that are not true.

“You ask anyone in the building, I’m in here at quarter-to-six training with the staff before the players get in so they see us doing the hard yards before they come.

“Coaching-wise I know I’ve got a lot to learn and I have to work hard.”

Benji Marshall.
Coach Benji Marshall giving instructions during a Wests Tigers training session. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Marshall also said the notion of a 24-7 coach was ridiculous, asking reporters if they also find time to sleep in their jobs.

And he was unhappy with the fact his right to go home and enjoy dinner with his family was questioned.

“What’s a 24-7 coach? Who says I don’t (live and breathe the job)?” Marshall said.

“I come into work early before the players. Work as hard as we can until we get what we need done. Then we go home.

“Because I prioritise my family between 5-8pm every night to find a work life balance, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about my job or care about working hard.

“I don’t get it.”

Marshall unofficially coached the Tigers in three games last season after Tim Sheens handed him more power, but he is viewing Saturday as his first game in charge.

Jahream Bula.
Exciting Tigers fullback Jahream Bula tries to break the line in a trial game against the Dragons. (David Hossack/AAP PHOTOS)

He is already showing his hand by giving a debut to 18-year-old Lachlan Galvin in the halves, the same age he first played in the NRL for the Tigers in 2003.

Marshall admitted he had first-game jitters comparable to that time of his own playing career.

“I’m actually a little bit nervous now. It’s just a lot of unknowns,” Marshall said.

“It’s our first real competition game. I know we played two trials, but it’s hard trying to prepare with the bye in round one.

“You’ve got to flog the players longer, and then freshen them up later. In our trials, our boys were very tired.

“We had to, we had to prepare for round one. I’m looking forward to seeing them fresh.”