Sport | Benji Marshall

Benji Marshall to move into the Wests Tigers coaches box

Kiwi rugby league legend Benji Marshall has confirmed he will be involved in the future of his beloved Wests Tigers club.

Marshall (Ngāi Tūhoe) has signed a 5-year contract with the struggling NRL side that will see him assume the role of assistant coach to his former mentor Tim Sheens before taking the role of head coach in 2025.

Sheens guided the Wests Tigers, with a young Marshall to NRL glory in 2005, and 20 years on, the pair will reunite once more, with another club legend Robbie Farah in the hope of finding success once more.

Speaking on Fox Sports NRL 360, Marshall said, "it's very exciting. I love this club. To have this opportunity to go and be mentored by someone like Tim Sheens for two years and then take over as head coach, it's something I've dreamt of.

”It's come a bit sooner than I expected but I back myself to take this opportunity and do a good job.

Marshall played more than 250 games for the club over two different periods, broken up by stints in rugby union with the Blues, before heading back to the NRL with the St George-Illawarra Dragons and the Brisbane Broncos. He retired at the end of the 2021 season, where he helped the South Sydney Rabbitohs reach the grand final.

Last month he won The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, raising over $480,000AUD for charity. He has also been working in the development pathway programme at Wests Tigers this year, helping young players develop into NRL hopefuls.

“I’ve been a part of this coaching system with a lot of good kids coming through and we’ve had success there, so we have to bring those kids through and I think Tim is the best guy to do that,” he said.

“Me not having any coaching experience, the last five years of my career I felt like I did more coaching than playing. That doesn’t resonate to what an assistant coach does but I’ve seen the ins and outs.

“I know how to plan an attacking structure, I know what it takes to be successful in attack and that’s what my job is going to be.”

“If you look at the way we’ve been for the last 10 years, if we keep doing the same thing then the same thing is going to happen, so we’re making the changes."

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Marshall is already making moves in his new role, helping to calm any fears had by Kiwis and Eels second rower Isaiah Papali'i, who had been pondering a contract backflip after Wests Tigers sacked former coach, and current Kiwi mastermind Michael Maguire last month.

The former World Player of the year, and Kiwi World Cup winning captain played 31 tests for New Zealand during his 19-year career, the last of which was in 2019 against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium.