Sheens hints at Marshall switch - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens hints at Marshall switch

By Steve Jancetic 27/06/2009 01:57:24 PM Comments (0)

With finals football now entering the realm of mathematical possibility, Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has forecast drastic changes to his side including the possible end to his experiment of playing Benji Marshall in the No.7.

Sheens said something had to give after his side slumped to their sixth defeat from their last seven matches with a 21-10 loss to ladder-leaders St George Illawarra on Friday night.

While Sheens refused to lay the blame at any one player's feet, it was another disappointing night for Marshall at first-receiver, with his passing and kicking game coming unstuck at critical moments as he pushed for the money play far too often.

Marshall's first season in the No.7 jumper has been something of a mixed bag, his inconsistencies mirroring the Tigers' performances to leave them in need a minor miracle to qualify for their first finals campaign since their 2005 premiership triumph.

"He's leading the try assists and line break assists in the game at the moment, but there's too many errors around him," Sheens said of Marshall's rocks and diamonds game.

"It's just the execution of the pass, he's trying to do many things with it - too many passes have to be a try - you've got to pick your mark and the execution of the pass isn't good enough.

"He's got some work to do and I've got to have a good look at the make-up of the team."

Asked if this meant switching Marshall back to five-eighth, Sheens said:

"Possibly - I'm not saying I won't ... at this stage I've just got to look at the whole make-up of the team really.

"We've won one game in our past seven or eight, I can't keep going around, around, around with the same guys - there's got to be some looking at the side as well and maybe that also look at positional changes."

While the Tigers fell behind 20-0 after just 31 minutes against the Dragons, they came up with enough half breaks to give their fans hope of a comeback.

It never really materialised with Beau Ryan's try just before half time followed by Marshall's all too late four-pointer with eight minutes remaining.

Sheens admitted the pressure of playing catch-up football - both on the scoreboard and premiership ladder - was affecting his players.

"When you're winning games mistakes don't enter into the head as much as when you're not winning games ... there's a certain amount of anxiety there that we're trying to keep down as much as possible," he said.

"It's hard - it's building from within themselves, from the media, from their supporters, from the game generally - the 'here we go again' type of thing.

"It's my job to make sure that they don't play under that pressure ... we have to stick together and work for each other.

"You start sitting in little groups pointing fingers at people, that's when the place breaks down and at Wests Tigers that won't happen."

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