I'll return a five-eighth, says Marshall - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I'll return a five-eighth, says Marshall

By Steve Jancetic 09/05/2007 07:58:11 PM Comments (0)

Injured Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall is adamant he'll remain at five-eighth when he makes his return to the NRL later this season, rejecting talk of a move to fullback to protect his fragile body.

Marshall will undergo surgery in Sydney on Thursday morning after scans revealed a fractured socket in his right shoulder - the same shoulder which has already been reconstructed on two occasions.

It had been mooted that the Tigers would try to protect Marshall by moving him out of the front line in defence, but the Kiwi international said he had no intention of being hidden.

"All the contact I did before (the injury) I was feeling great," Marshall told reporters.

"It was just one thing of bad luck. I'll be back at five-eighth, definitely.

"I'm happy at five-eighth - I'll come back bigger and better and I just can't wait to come back.

"I'm sick of being injured."

The fracture was the best possible news for Marshall, who had initially feared the worst when he came reeling out of a tackle on Melbourne winger Israel Folau at Gosford on Saturday night.

Marshall played just 11 games last season after requiring a shoulder reconstruction, this latest blow likely to rule him out for between 10-12 weeks.

That would see him sidelined until at least the round 19 clash against the New Zealand Warriors at Campbelltown, but Marshall was upbeat.

"I'm ecstatic actually - it's actually better than I thought," Marshall said.

"I've got a fracture in my socket which is good because my last two reconstructions are still intact.

"I've had plenty of nights staring at the ceiling - pretty nervous to be honest.

"I knew it was a big thing with my shoulder going again."

Tigers club doctor Donald Kuah believed the injury could have been far worse, but said there were no concerns about Marshall playing again in 2007.

"Both of the previous reconstructions of the shoulder are intact," Dr Kuah said.

"He will have a clean up of the joint and probably be in a brace for four weeks to allow the bone to heal."

Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce said the 2005 premiers would continue to stand by the 22-year-old, despite some calls that the club would be better off spending the large chunk of the salary cap that Marshall commands somewhere else.

"Benji's an important part of the club - he's not the only one - but he's an important part," Noyce said.

"He's been with us all of his career and he's well respected both on and off the field.

"It's a little bit disappointing and frustrating for us all that people were talking about career ending and all those sort of things.

"This kid loves playing football and I think it's good for the game and not just Wests Tigers when Benji's playing football."

Backrower Liam Fulton has been named to replace him in the No.6 jumper against St George Illawarra on Sunday, but Fulton is unlikely to shoulder much of the playmaking duties.

Even with Marshall in the side the Tigers have used hooker Robbie Farah at first and second receiver to help out halfback John Morris.

The move has seen lock Dene Halatau assume much of the dummy half duties, the formula having worked well in consecutive wins against Cronulla, the Bulldogs and Melbourne.

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