NRL 2020: Kiwi Benji Marshall 'shocked' at dumping from underperforming Wests Tigers

Benji Marshall
Benji Marshall Photo credit: Getty

Kiwis playmaker Benji Marshall admits he was shocked when told of his dumping from the Wests Tigers NRL side.

The NZ skipper is one of several changes made by coach Michael Maguire, after the club's surprise loss to the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

Marshall, a Tigers legend, has been replaced by Josh Reynolds, who will partner Luke Brooks against the Cronulla Sharks this weekend - one of five changes.

Marshall revealed his national team coach informed him of his non-selection on Tuesday morning.

"I was a little bit shocked and disappointed that I got dropped," Marshall has told Fox Sport.

"But any player would be in that position if you’re competitive and you want to be part of the team, of course you’re going to be disappointed.

"Bit of disappointment this morning, but 'Madge' is the coach and he spoke about making a change."

The 35-year-old's form has been solid during the stop-start 2020 season. He led the side admirably against the Sharks two weeks ago, but made a crucial momentum-swinging mistake against the Titans, when the Tigers were in control with 20 minutes to play.

Ultimately, Marshal believes that's what cost him a spot in the side.

"If you look at last week’s game, I probably led us home, when we got to a lead and sort of game-managed us to get home against Cronulla. 

"Against the Titans, we got out to the same lead, and I failed to do that with a seven-tackle kick and made an error down there.

"I just need to be better - I understand where he’s coming from. I’ve just got to train hard and get myself back in the team."

Reynolds has struggled to lock down a permanent spot in the Tigers line-up since his AU$800,000 move from the Bulldogs two years ago.

Marshall expects the former representative halfback to perform, especially after Maguire's laid down the gauntlet with mass changes.

"I don’t know what he’s thinking about with Josh, but from my point of view, I know the expectations and the standards that he has on the way I played," Marshall says.

"He was upfront and honest with me this morning, and I really appreciated that. For this weekend, he thought the inclusion of Josh was the best thing for our side.

"I guess what the coach has done is really put everyone on notice that we’re looking for consistency - you can’t go up one week and down the next week.

"My challenge is to find that consistency, have a bit more energy on the ball and defensively I've got a few things to work on as well.

"I've just got to be better overall.”

Although he is signed through to the end of next season, 2020 is expected to be Marshall's swansong, as he transitions into a broadcasting role.

NRL 2020: Kiwi Benji Marshall 'shocked' at dumping from underperforming Wests Tigers