Benji, you’ve gotta keep the faith

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It’s no surprise that the critics are lining up to crash tackle Benji Marshall’s coaching ability.

And the hyperbole just gets more extreme from one hack to the next.

“Hurtling to the bottom’’ was the verdict from the most recent shot at Benji and the Wests Tigers.

It’s like a social media pile on but a slow burning one as the usual suspects take turns.

Our advice to Benji is: ignore them completely and keep doing what you’re doing.

Nobody who follows the Tigers is happy with six losses on the trot and a two and seven record so far this season.

But a reasonable person who watches the Tigers closely this season would agree that they are a big improvement on last year’s second wooden spoon effort.

From where we sit, Benji is doing a great job with the cattle he’s got at his disposal.

Unfortunately, he’s not out there producing try assists with a flick pass or two.

And, Benji, the club’s true believers have got your back, mate, so don’t worry about the newspaper hacks’ superficial analysis of where the team is at.

Fans young and old made the trek to Tamworth last weekend.

Keep the faith and the results will turn around.

Marshall has just named his 22-man squad for this weekend’s Magic Round match against the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday evening.

There are quite a few changes to the side which lost 20-14 to the Knights last weekend in Tamworth, with another Fainu in line to make his NRL debut.

Sione Fainu, the oldest of the three brothers at Wests Tigers, is set to make his first NRL appearance off the bench on Sunday.

The 22-year-old comes into the squad as one of two forward replacements for John Bateman (pectoral) and Isaiah Papali’i (suspension).

Sione’s first NRL game will be against the same opposition and at the same venue, six weeks after Latu made his NRL debut against the Dolphins in Brisbane.

Alex Twal comes into the starting side at lock, replacing Papali’i, while Alex Seyfarth is also elevated to the starting side alongside Samuela Fainu in the second row.

Solomon Alaimalo returns to the side on the wing after making his NRL debut against the Broncos in Round 8, with Brent Naden shifting into the centres in place of Starford To’a (hamstring).

Asu Kepaoa has been named on the bench and will play his first game in the top grade since the team’s Round 6 loss to the Dragons.

The match will be a major milestone for captain Api Koroisau who will play his 200th NRL game.

Magic Round, Wests Tigers v Dolphins, 6.25pm, Sunday, May 19, Suncorp Stadium


1. Jahream Bula

2. Charlie Staines

3. Brent Naden 

4. Justin Olam

5. Solomon Alaimalo

6. Lachlan Galvin

7. Jayden Sullivan

8. Stefano Utoikamanu

9. Apisai Koroisau (c)

10. David Klemmer

11. Samuela Fainu

12. Alex Seyfarth

13. Alex Twal


14. Jake Simpkin

15. Fonua Pole

16. Asu Kepaoa

17. Sione Fainu

18. Tallyn Da Silva

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