Wests Tigers: Benji Marshall rips into ‘terrible’ Tigers as fans get restless

Michael Holland

Former Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall did not hold back with his assessment of their performance against the Newcastle Knights at the weekend, labelling it as ‘terrible’.

Marshall made over 250 appearances for the Tigers during two spells with the club. His most recent was between 2018 and 2020 before ending his career with South Sydney in 2021.

The former New Zealand international now works as a pundit for Fox Sports. He was at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday to see first hand the disaster that unfolded.

Marshall was completely honest after the 26-4 loss and felt Wests fell well short of where they should be. In round one the Tigers put up a good fight before losing by 10 points to the Melbourne Storm.

Wests Tigers lacked effort

However they were nowhere near against the Knights, who were missing Kalyn Ponga but still ran riot. What will alarm the Tigers faithful the most is the fact Marshall felt the players lacked effort.

“(It was) really terrible,” Marshall told Fox League. “The completion rate was below 60 per cent. You can’t win any game like that.

“From an effort point of view it wasn’t there. It wasn’t good enough for first-grade standard. I dare say (Michael Maguire) might be making changes for next weekend.”

When addressing the media after the game Maguire was told about Marshall’s comments. And he did not disagree with some of what he said.

“There were areas in our effort that could have been better for sure. You have to turn up committed every time you turn up at a rugby league game,” Maguire said.

Maguire has support

Now it remains to be seen if Maguire will make changes for the next game. They face the New Zealand Warriors on home soil on Friday night and they need a result.

The supporters are getting restless but Maguire does have the backing of the players. Indeed new signing Oliver Gildart has spoken in glowing terms of the former Wigan Warriors coach.

Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu also agreed with some of what Marshall had to say. He admitted they fell well below first-grade standards, but also had support for Maguire.

“It’s a bit far fetched trying to blame the coach,” he told reporters. “You’ve got to look at the players first. Madge is doing everything for us and puts in a lot of work for us and I really appreciate that. If we don’t perform then it’s on us.”