Benji in doubt for Tigers with calf injury
Mon 5 Mar 2018, 09:06 PM
The fairytale story of round one could be put on ice with Benji Marshall racing the clock to play in the Wests Tigers’ season-opener against the Sydney Roosters.
NRL.com understands Marshall, who was expected to be used off the bench for the Wests Tigers, is in doubt for Saturday afternoon’s clash at ANZ Stadium as he overcomes a calf injury.
Marshall was set to play his first Telstra Premiership game for the club in 1646 days in the blockbuster against the premiership favourites, however he now has to prove his fitness before kick-off to take his place in the side.
He has been training with the club’s rehab group over the past fortnight and only began partially training with the full squad on Monday.
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The veteran playmaker hasn’t played a trial, opting against turning out for the clashes in Cairns and Campbelltown as he awaited the birth of his first child.
Coach Ivan Cleary is expected to name Marshall in his 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon, and will likely give him until the team’s final training session on Friday to prove his fitness.
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If fit, it’s understood Marshall will start on the bench and could come on at five-eighth in a move that would mean fellow recruit Josh Reynolds shifts to the hooker role.
“Ivan’s already said to me you might have to jump into hooker every now and then,” Reynolds told NRL.com after the club’s first trial.
"That’s fine for me. I’m not that guy who is going to turn around and say ‘nah, sorry Ivan, I’ve come here to play five-eighth’.
“Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’m a five-eighth, but at the same time I’m not a greedy person and I have to do what’s best for the team. If he does want me, Brooksy (Luke Brooks) and Benji on at the same time and that’s where I have to go, then that’s where I’ll go.”
While Marshall’s inclusion would be a huge boost for the Tigers on the field, the club is well aware of his drawing power and the impact his selection would have on the crowd should he be fit to play in the match that also pins James Tedesco up against his old teammates.
It is hoped a crowd of close to 30,000 turns out on Saturday to mark the beginning of a new era at the Tigers.