Apr 30, 2013 League Freak Wests Tigers 1
Benji Marshall is at an interesting point in his career.
Marshall is one of the greatest players of his era, and yet over the last few season he has found himself playing in a poor side, getting poor results, and it has without question had an effect on his form.
Now comes word that Marshall is about to sign a five year deal for around $4 million. This deal will be the biggest contract of his career. It will also be the last big contract he will ever sign as a football player.
That all makes me question whether Marshall is rushing into things. I know he has thye desire to be a one club player, but are the Wests Tigers the right club for Marshall to end his career with? Does he really want to say that he remained loyal to a club that never really put together the team he deserved to be leading?
Look at the way the Wests Tigers have recruited players in recent years. An old Braith Anasta. An old Lote Tuqiri from Rugby Union. An old Matt Utai from Super League. Matthew Bell from the Panthers, not exactly the best team in the comp. Even now, the signing of an old Pat Richards from Super League….this is a club that has no idea what it is doing when they recruits players!
Even when they went above and beyond and spent a lot of money to get Adam Blair, he turned out to be a bust! Also while we are at it, the way they faught to keep Tim Moltzen who is at best a fringe first grader…that says it all!
Nathan Hindmarsh ended his career as a one club player. He slogged away for years on a terrible Parramatta Eels team and ended winning the Wooden Spoon as a parting gift. Andrew Johns stuck solid with the Newcastle Knights. Possibly the best players of all time, he won only two Grand Final’s and spent the rest of his career carrying a terrible Knights side on his shoulders.
Is that the way Benji Marshall wants to end his career?
The one title Benji Marshall has won came back in 2005 when he was still a youngster. The Tigers put together a really interesting side at the time. They had a very mobile forward pack and they played a very different style compared to other clubs. It was a formula they stuck with for years, and while it worked here and there, as the NRL started to enter what is now a golden era of massive forward packs, the Tigers simply struggled to compete up front.
In the end, it cost Tim Sheens his job. Even then the Tigers failed in their recruitment process as they signed Mick Potter from Super League. Anyone that had seen the lack of results Potter had come up with in Super League, especially during his time at St Helens, were left scratching their heads.
Being a one club player is important to Benji Marshall, but are the West Tigers the best situation for him at this stage of his career?
I feel as though you could put Benji Marshall in any of the other clubs based in Sydney and he would have a better chance of winning another premioership than he does at the Wests Tigers. Even Penrith and Parramatta have better pieces to build a team around than the Wests Tigers do.
To commit to that long term, I don’t know how Benji can do it. I don’t know how he can look around and think about playing in a team where he has more than just one other decent player in the side.
Benji Marshall is my favorite player. I love watching him play, I love watching him compete and I love seeing him play in game that really mean something. At the West Tigers, his best hope of playing in big games is fighting for 8th and last place in the finals.
If I could talk to Benji Marshall I’d say to him, he will get the money playing anywhere, but are these the results he is willing to put up with during what should be the best years of his career? After all, everyone loves a one club player. They love a winner more though….
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Interesting analysis of Benji’s career & prospects.
Wests Tigers should have made or won the GF in 2010 &/or 2011. The losses in the elimination finals to St George (2010) & the Warriors (2011) were partly due to poor attacking options by Benji & some of his so called “star” teammates. Benji did not handle the pressure & it seems the Tigers cannot win “big” games with him or without him.
In recent seasons Benji has lost speed which has made him less potent.
Robbie Farah is clearly the best player & driving force of the Tigers these days.
Benji has already made his millions on & off the field as the face of the Tigers.
The Tigers & NRL have more than capitalised on his involvement in the NRL .
Bottom line is Benji has not been playing consistently good football for a long time & his main value to a club is as an employee attracting sponsorship, ticketing & merchandise sales.
If he retired today he would be fondly remembered as a flawed attacking genius whose form was too inconsistent to be rated an “all-time great” or “immortal”.
As a Tiger fan I hope Benji loses a little bulk & regains the blistering speed that made him such a great attacking weapon.