Posted: 16 May, 2013
"They believe they have a legitimate shot at getting Benji," says Supergrass
Benji Marshall's benching to spark contract talks? (Getty Images)
Benji Marshall was benched this weekend. Now his benching, while in the middle of contract talks with the Tigers has sparked one other Sydney NRL club into gear.
Triple M's The Supergrass told The Grill Team "They now believe they have a legitimate shot at getting Benji for next season, expect the Panthers to put in a huge bid. They believe Benji's star power is exactly what they need."
A marquee player like Benji Marshall would certainly bring a lot of fans to the struggling Panthers.
Meanwhile, the decision to start Marshall from the bench for Friday night’s match against South Sydney has prompted coach Mick Potter to yesterday exclusively speak to the club website.
He also talks about the decision to release young half-back Jacob Miller to Hull FC and the opportunities it brings for Miller.
Q: Your decision to start Benji Marshall from the bench this week has attracted plenty of talk?
A: Benji’s profile means he always attracts a lot of interest and talk, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. I understand that and Benji has to manage that intense interest in everything to do with him. The fact is that Benji is part of our 17-man team for this week’s match against Souths and I expect him to play a very significant role in what will be a big match for us. Coaches play around the composition of the starting line-up and the bench almost on a weekly basis. I just felt starting Benji off the bench was the right way to go this week and that’s what we will be doing.
Q: What led you to make this decision?
A: By his own admission, Benji is down on form and confidence at the moment. He knows his game well, he knows what he needs to do to recapture his form, in fact he has publicly stated these things very honestly and accurately. The decision to start him from the bench this week is simply my view on what is in the best interest of the team for this game.
Q: How did Benji react to the decision?
A: He was very disappointed. I knew he would be because Benji has a lot of pride in his place in our team and the game generally. But whilst disappointed, he demonstrated his professionalism by putting in without doubt his best training session of the year yesterday. Benji knows his actions will speak far louder than any words. I fully expect him to have a very positive influence on this game. We need him too if we are to put in the kind of performance the team expects.
Q: The decision to release Jacob Miller. What was the reason behind this?
A: As we know, Jacob was our half-back when the season started. Although I think Jacob is a fine player, things just didn’t happen for the team. At the same time, Jacob received an opportunity from Hull FC to secure a lucrative three- year deal and seeing he was off contract at the end of this season, we didn’t want to stand in his way. Everyone at the Club wishes Jacob well.
Matty and MG on the weighty issues behind Kiwi star's benching.