Defiant Marshall gets Tigers support - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Defiant Marshall gets Tigers support

By Steve Jancetic 08/03/2011 07:48:02 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys claimed Benji Marshall had the support of the club, its fans and sponsors as the star five-eighth vowed to fight the assault charge that has cast a shadow over the opening round of the NRL.

Marshall on Tuesday fronted the media for the first time since the early Saturday morning altercation which has him facing an assault charge in Downing Centre local court on April 20.

While the 26-year-old thanked those who had offered him support following the incident - which occurred just after 3am outside a McDonald's outlet on George Street in Sydney's CBD - Humphreys said the club was happy with how their marquee name had conducted himself in the lead-up to the alleged altercation.

With the case now before the courts, Humphreys said he was not prepared to comment on the incident itself, but was firm in his and the club's backing of Marshall.

"We've had an overwhelming response of support for Benji from our members and also corporates, we've had scores and scores of emails and support for him," Humphreys said on Tuesday.

"We've had meetings with each of our major sponsors and all of them are very supportive of us as a club and Benji as an individual and now we'll let the court process take the course."

Marshall's presence after 3am in a part of inner-Sydney notorious for alcohol-fuelled incidents has been the subject of plenty of public debate, but Humphreys said the club is satisfied he hadn't acted inappropriately.

Marshall had endured a hectic promotional week which included launching the NRL season as the new 'face of the game' and culminated with the fundraising event in the hours before the early morning incident.

"Benji, given the effort he'd put in, was entitled to have a relaxing drink with close friends which he did for not a very long time and then as he was leaving that area this incident occurred," Humphreys said.

"I think there is a series of events that has culminated in him being at that place at that time ... it wasn't the result of a night out on the tiles."

Humphreys also applauded the NRL's decision to await the findings of the courts before determining whether they would take any further action.

"What we are interested in are the events in and around the incident," Humphreys said.

"In this particular case, Benji's behaviour was in no way bringing anything into disrepute - our club or the game - in fact his behaviour was absolutely exemplary, there's plenty of evidence of that."

Marshall, reading from a prepared statement, said he was ready to play for the Tigers in Monday night's opening round clash against Canterbury despite a tough few days.

"The last several days have obviously been stressful for me, particularly as they have resulted in my being charged by the police," Marshall said.

"I have been advised by my lawyers that because I have been charged it is now necessary to allow the legal process to take its course.

"I can however confirm my intention to defend the present charge."

Coach Tim Sheens said he had no concerns over Marshall's ability to put the events of the past few days to one side for the ANZ Stadium match-up.

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