Media reports have suggested the mercurial Benji Marshall is on the slide. The Kiwi legend has struggled for form and consistency recently and something drastic is needed before its all too late.
But it isn’t all Marshall’s fault.
Granted Marshall spends plenty of time on The Footy Show. Perhaps too much time.
Lets not forget A Current Affair’s story earlier in the year on Marshall and his fiancé. All that story did was make football fans across the country cringe. What that had to do with anything beats me.
The Wests Tigers spent another year outside the Top 8 and coach Tim Sheens has been shown the door. Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington are on their way to Cronulla and Gareth Ellis is returning to England.
This basically leaves Marshall and Robbie Farah.
“He kicked well and put up the bomb that was miraculously taken by Sam Perrett for Gerard Beale’s try on half-time” Phil Rothfield wrote in The Telegraph on Monday.
“But when the score was locked at 10-all for 20 minutes of the second half, the Kiwis were desperately looking for some of his old magic. A big sidestep, a broken-play surge or even the old flick pass.
“It just wasn’t there.”
Would the Melbourne Storm be the side they are without Cooper Cronk?
Billy Slater and Cameron Smith would still be a dangerous combination. But without Cronk, everything changes.
Is it any wonder Benji’s career has nosedived since Scott Prince left the Tigers at the end of 2006?
The effects may have been glossed over while Brett Hodgson was still at the club. With Hodgson adding an option from the back, Benji got through.
Sheens has said himself that Marshall is not a playmaker. He is a lethal ball runner when given the chance to be a lethal ball runner.
The same thing happened to the Kiwi skipper on Saturday night in Townsville. By picking Kieran Foran over Shaun Johnson, you put added pressures on Marshall to create opportunities for others.
With both Johnson and Foran in the side, Marshall would be allowed to create opportunities for himself. Something he hasn’t been allowed to do at either the Tigers or international level.
Benji has been the victim of poor coaching tactics for far too long.
“Whoever coaches the Wests Tigers next year faces an enormous task to get his career back on track” Rothfield added.
Its pretty simple. The Tigers need a quality halfback and let Marshall play some footy.