Siro urges Benji to miss Centenary Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Siro urges Benji to miss Centenary Test

By Philip Henderson and Wayne Heming 29/04/2008 05:29:10 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers have turned up the heat on Benji Marshall to sidestep next week's Centenary Test with board member Paul Sironen urging the injury-plagued Kiwi superstar to remember who pays his "bills".

While Tigers assistant Royce Simmons has joined coach Tim Sheens in urging New Zealand selectors to overlook an underdone Marshall when they name their team for the May 9 rugby league Test against Australia on Sunday, former Balmain great Sironen said he wanted the issue taken out of the their hands.

"Tim will have a word to him but at the end of the day the decision will be his (Marshall's)," Sironen said in Brisbane.

"You'd like to think he feels he owes the Tigers a little bit, we've stuck by him the last couple of years.

"At the end of the day, the bills get paid somehow.

"I hope he doesn't (play) and that's from a selfish point of view.

"Being on the Tigers board I just don't want him to rush back and try and compete in the intensity of a Test match arena."

Marshall, who admits he came back from a shoulder injury too soon to play in last year's Anzac Test, has already stated he will rule himself out of the Test if he didn't feel up to the task.

Sironen's comments came at the same time as Marshall was being ruled out of Saturday's NRL clash with Brisbane after a "minor" flare up to his injured left knee.

Injury has already restricted the 23-year-old to just 24 of 55 games for the Tigers since their 2005 premiership, with Marshall's latest setback coming in just his second game of 2008 after a five-week layoff.

Earlier this year, Marshall signed a one-year extension with the Tigers until the end of 2009, with both the club and player wary of agreeing to too long a deal given his chequered injury history.

Simmons said the club had not yet closed the door on the possibility of Marshall being fit for New Zealand, but said if it was up to him, Marshall should not be picked.

"At this stage we'd probably leave that a bit open, but if you ask me, Benji's not ready to play," said Simmons.

"I think New Zealand would be doing an injustice to their other players (if they picked Marshall).

"They've got plenty of quality players. Benji isn't right to play in a game like that.

"Even last weekend he spoke about how fatigued he got in the game (against Cronulla). He needs more time on the training park and more time in club footy before he's ready to go into a Test match to play a side like Australia."

Simmons, who stressed the concern was only "minor", said Marshall won't be able to train until Friday at the earliest after tearing scar tissue in his injured knee against the Sharks on Sunday.

Marshall copped a knock early in the game, but despite hobbling in the opening exchanges and saying his knee had felt "weird", went on to show glimpses of his star qualities in playing a full 80 minutes.

New Zealand convenor of selectors Howie Tamati said the Kiwi selection panel would sound out Marshall directly about his Test prospects.

"There's always comments from the clubs about them expressing concern about the player's welfare and understandably so," Tamati said.

"But from our perspective, if the player says he's okay to play and he's the best in the position, then we'll name him.

"But if he's not fit, we don't want to jeopardise Benji's career either.

"We've been down that road before, so we'll talk to Benji to see if he's available."

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