SHEENS BACKS MARSHALL ALL THE WAY
By Wayne Cousins
12/09/2011 5:27:52 PM
He is confident, brash and exhilarating to watch and as far as Tim Sheens is concerned, he wouldn’t swap Benji Marshall for any other pivot in the game.
Sheens says the expectation on Marshall to perform every week in the Telstra Premiership was always high but is pleased with the way the Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year handles the pressure and the constant media scrutiny.
The experienced Wests Tigers Head Coach said Marshall was under no more pressure at this time of the season to perform in the finals than the likes of Darren Lockyer and Jamie Soward.
“It (the pressure) is on so many playmakers in the game to steer the teams around and to get the decisions right,’’ Sheens said.
“I know Benji polarises a lot of people one way or another but I think he handles that pretty well. He is only human.
“If he is hounded too much, that can be an issue for him. I find that all the star playmakers in the game are under a fair bit of pressure each week.
“Billy Slater every week has to be Billy Slater. He has got to be the best full-back in the world. It’s not easy to do that.
‘‘It is not easy for Benji every week to be a class act. You just want him to make sure he does the little things well and doesn’t overplay his hand which sometimes he has a habit of doing.
“By the same token, there are many games this year we wouldn’t have won had he not overplayed his hand.”
Sheens said people could form the wrong impression of Marshall due to the confidence he displays.
“I rate the kid big time. I think with a lot of champion young players that people like to knock em because every now and then he will have a game he is not happy with and people jump on that straight up,’’ he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t swap him for any five-eighth.”