Tigers back Marshall after charges dropped - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers back Marshall after charges dropped

By Steve Jancetic 24/08/2011 07:32:02 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys says he sees no need for Benji Marshall to change his off-field ways after an assault charge against the NRL star was thrown out in court.

In a result sure to give the Tigers' premiership hopes a massive lift, Marshall was on Wednesday cleared of assaulting Soliman Naimey outside a Sydney McDonald's outlet in the early hours of March 5.

The decision brought to an end a tumultuous five months for the Kiwi international, but Humphreys said the club would not warn Marshall about being out on the town late at night.

"What do you do though, do you lock them in the house?" Humphreys said.

"We've always taken the view that the guys are adults and they'll make the right decisions.

"You take something from every experience but there's no need for a big change in the way he conducts himself.

"Giving evidence (in court), he said that he doesn't believe he did anything wrong at all and we've always been proud of the way he conducts himself - nothing that's happened changes that view one bit."

Marshall's altercation preceded an attack on Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne, who was headbutted inside a Kings Cross nightclub in May, while in 2008, the Eels five-eighth was shot at in the same area during a night out.

Humphreys said the club never had any reason to doubt Marshall's versions of events, after he said he fended Naimey after being racially abused.

"We said when it happened back in March that we were very comfortable with what had happened and the way Benji had conducted himself," Humphreys said.

"We felt at the time that the legal proceedings would end up in the same place and that's what happened."

In a statement delivered outside Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, Marshall said he was keen to get back to football with the finals series just two weeks away.

"It's been a pretty tough time and I'm very pleased with the outcome of the court proceedings.

"Now let's play rugby league."

Through it all, Marshall has managed to keep his performances at an exceptionally high level, with the Tigers riding a six-game winning streak, but Humphreys admitted the saga had some impact on the star player's psyche.

"He's very professional in everything he does, Benji, but you wouldn't be human if something like that didn't affect you in some kind of way," Humphreys said.

While initially concerned with the timing of the court appearance so close to the finals, Humphreys said it was a relief that the entire team could now get down to concentrating on on-field issues.

The Tigers need to win their last two games against Gold Coast on Monday and then Cronulla to be any chance of finishing in the top four and hosting rights in the first week of the finals.

"I'm not sure what's the best timing for these sorts of things. At first glance, we were preferring it to be after the season," Humphreys said.

"But now its been dealt with and we can put it behind us.

"If anything, it's a positive leading into the finals."

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