Marshall wants pressure off Galvin for NRL debut

Scott Bailey |

Tigers head coach Benji Marshall (c) will not put pressure on young five-eighth Lachlan Galvin.
Tigers head coach Benji Marshall (c) will not put pressure on young five-eighth Lachlan Galvin.

Benji Marshall insists there is no pressure on Lachlan Galvin to be the Wests Tigers’ saviour ahead of the most anticipated debut at the club in a decade.

Galvin will join Marshall and Luke Brooks in a group of 18-year-olds to have debuted in the Tigers halves on Saturday, after demanding selection against Canberra.

In doing so the Campbelltown junior will become one of the on-field faces of the Tigers’ new Marshall era, with the club legend officially coaching his first game at any level. 

Marshall is adamant he is not rolling the dice with the teenager, saying Galvin ultimately forced his hand for the Tigers’ first game with a dominant pre-season at Concord.

But the rookie coach has also stressed there is no expectation for the 190cm Galvin to feel as if he is carrying the weight of the club’s future on his shoulders.

“Lachie won’t come in and be the saviour of the club like everyone is talking about,” Marshall said on Friday. 

“He’ll come in and do his job, and his job as the five-eighth is to get the team around the park and play footy. That’s all we want from him.

“Lachie is one of those guys who just plays footy, he plays what he sees, he’s not overawed by situations. There’s no fear in what he does.”

Marshall admitted he had some tears in handing Galvin and rookie centre Solomona Faataape their debuts on Friday.

The Tigers looked a far better team with Galvin on the field against St George Illawarra in their last trial three weeks ago.

Such is his rise, Galvin played U19s SG Ball last season and has not previously run out in the U21s Jersey Flegg competition or NSW Cup reserve grade.

But the new coach is unconcerned about the prospect of Canberra going after the No.6, adopting a good-enough-is old-enough adage.

“He put pressure on me to select him. I didn’t pick him for nothing, he earned it,” Marshall said.

“There’s no fear in what he does. He trains hard, he won every test in the pre-season, fitness wise. 

“And as an 18-year-old kid, you want to see how they go defensively, and in the wrestle room he was outstanding as well.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him play. He’s a big kid and he’s also a really good kid, that’s what we love about him the most.”

Marshall also confirmed the Tigers expect Justin Olam to return from a knee injury next week against Cronulla, after he was put on ice for the Raiders clash.