Benny Elias backs Tigers Benji call but highlights ‘massive risk’


The announcement of Benji Marshall’s five-year deal, which can see the premiership winner take over as Wests Tigers coach in 2025 has been described as a “large threat” by Balmain legend Benny Elias.

Marshall will take over as head coach after doing a two-year apprenticeship underneath teaching legend Tim Sheens, who will transfer again into the top coach’s chair for 2023 and 2024.

Talking to Large World of Sports activities, Elias admitted the membership’s determination was a left-field alternative however backed them whereas questioning the size of the deal.

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“It is a large threat. It is a large threat. Nevertheless it’s a threat they’re prepared to take as members of the board,” Elias informed Large World of Sports activities.

“I’d go for the tried and true, I am a conservative bloke and I am going to all the time wish to know what I am getting for my buck. Right here you do not know what you are getting on your buck.”

Marshall performed most of his 346-game NRL profession on the Tigers, whereas Sheens, who’s presently the director of soccer, coached the membership to 128 wins from 249 video games from 2003 to 2012, together with a premiership that includes Benji’s iconic grand remaining flick move in 2005.

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After an unsuccessful try to rent Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo on a five-year deal, the Tigers appeared inside, earlier than selecting a succession plan that banks on what the membership describes as “Wests Tigers DNA”.

It is arguably essentially the most sudden name in latest NRL historical past, shunning extra skilled premiership-winning coaches in the marketplace like Shane Flanagan and Paul Inexperienced to go together with a digital novice.

In some methods it completes the backflip to finish all backflips, with Marshall invited deep again contained in the tent after the Tigers pushed him out twice throughout his taking part in days. He finally completed his profession with the Rabbitohs in final season’s grand remaining.

Throw in Tim Sheens’ reunion with the membership after being sacked 10 years in the past and the Tigers seem like a membership recent out of concepts. Selecting membership greats to teach their former groups typically ends in tears as Nathan Brown, Wayne Pearce, Brad Fittler and a bunch of others found.

Des Hasler’s success at Manly might be the exception though he labored his manner up from Harold Matthews to the senior place over a number of years. The settlement Benji has with the Tigers will see him take an assistant’s function for 2 years earlier than taking excessive job on what’s successfully a three-year contract to be head coach.

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Whereas he has no NRL teaching expertise, Marshall has been working with the membership’s youthful gamers in a consultancy function all year long. His function within the latter levels of his taking part in profession was, by his personal admission, additionally the beginning of a training apprenticeship, with the star five-eighth turning into a bit-part participant on the sphere however taking part in a major mentoring function off it.

“It is a daring transfer by the board, I welcome it. I help it as a result of I really like the membership. Would I’ve achieved it in another way? Undoubtedly,” Elias stated.

“I am going to help what they do as a result of I really like the Tigers. It is the love of my life and I proceed to help no matter they do, good, unhealthy or detached.

“I’ve my opinions; whether or not they’re proper or improper I do not know. However it is a daring, daring transfer, 5 12 months contract for a bloke who has not achieved any teaching in any respect, however I welcome it as a result of they’re attempting one thing completely different.

“I feel each Wests Tigers supporter on the market would help Benji Marshall and Tim Sheens getting concerned and hungry once more. It is bought to be an excellent factor for the membership total. Solely time will inform.”

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The present crop of top-line coaches within the sport now proves expertise within the function earlier than taking up the massive job is crucial. Wayne Bennett honed his craft for 10 years earlier than becoming a member of Canberra in 1987 after which Brisbane to go on and start their 90s dynasty.

Trent Robinson had stints as an assistant on the Knights and Roosters, earlier than teaching Catalans within the Tremendous League after which taking up the Roosters within the NRL.

Craig Bellamy was an assistant at Canberra and Brisbane earlier than taking on Melbourne.

Up and comers like Craig Fitzgibbon and Todd Payten have been within the teaching ranks for much less time however have labored as assistants at a number of golf equipment earlier than taking the reins of an NRL crew.

The Tigers have a giant nursery with a number of proficient kids making their manner into the NRL ranks, although their lack of self-discipline and recent propensity to leak information to the media, is a battle Marshall can win, says Elias.

“Benji may have a number of self-discipline. When he will get possession I feel he’ll be very strict, very disciplined and you will know precisely the place you stand,” he stated.

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“I discover that an important trait. And there are issues like leaking of data, the coach we have presently, there’s a number of issues we have to change. Benji realises that, I spoke to him final night time.

“They’ve achieved issues with the very skilled folks, individuals who have received premierships prior to now, they have not labored. We’re speaking about Madge, he is been there for 4 years.

“That simply did not appear to work. When issues aren’t working it’s important to do one thing completely different, which is what they’ve achieved. A bloke like Benji Marshall could be very assured, very educated, ticks all of the bins.”

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