Now it’s the getting of wisdom of Benji Marshall the coach

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Benji Marshall will be in Campbelltown tomorrow, but it won’t just be for training for the round six match with St George Illawarra on Sunday.

At 10am in the morning he will join club CEO Shane Richardson and local VIPs to open a Wests Tigers office along Blaxland Road, barely here kilometres from Campbelltown Stadium, venue of Sunday’s big clash.

Benji was still at high school when he made his NRL debut at Campbelltown Stadium, and those of us who were lucky enough to be there were in awe of this youngster bamboozling his opponents with his jumping, hopping and incredible stepping skills.

He was throwing no-look passes, and not always sideways; sometimes they were basketball like, going high back right over his head.

Blind Freddy could see that day this kid was something extra special.

All true Wests Tigers fans know that he played a key role in that grand final victory over the Cowboys on October 2, 2005.

Fast forward 19 years and Benji is now one of the youngest head coaches ever appointed in the NRL – he turns 40 next February 25.

Back when he was starting out as a player he quickly worked out that he could not perform all those tricks all at once – and every time he got the ball.

That was the getting of wisdom of Benji the player.

Now, just six weeks into this chapter of his life, we are also witnesses to the getting of wisdom of Benji the coach. Just listen carefully to him when he speaks and you will know what I mean.

He’s a fast learner the Wests Tigers coach and we all hope that lady luck is also on his side – and he has a long and prosperous career.

There will be plenty of doubters of course.

But there’s none in this corner, Benji, and we welcome you to Campbelltown with open arms.

Back to the footy, and injuries have forced Marshall to include several changes in the 22-man squad he has named for Sunday’s Members Appreciation Round match against the Dragons at Campbelltown Stadium.

Out are John Bateman (HIA Protocol), Samuela Fainu (HIA Protocol), and Latu Fainu (hamstring).

However the only change to the starting lineup sees Alex Seyfarth elevated to the run-on side replacing Bateman in the second row.

Asu Kepaoa, Justin Matamua and Jake Simpkin have been added to the bench, and are in line to play their first NRL game this season.

Match: Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra, Campbelltown Stadium, Sunday, April 14, 4.05pm kickoff


1. Jahream Bula

2. Charlie Staines

3. Solomona Faataape

4. Justin Olam

5. Junior Tupou

6. Jayden Sullivan

7. Aidan Sezer

8. Stefano Utoikamanu

9. Apisai Koroisau (c)

10. David Klemmer

11. Isaiah Papali’i

12. Alex Seyfarth

13. Fonua Pole


14. Jake Simpkin

15. Alex Twal

16. Justin Matamua

17. Asu Kepaoa

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