Desperate Wests Tigers recall Benji Marshall

JOE BARTON
Last updated 01:30 22/05/2013
Benji Marshall
Getty Images
RECALLED: Benji Marshall's benching has lasted just one week, with the Kiwis international back in the starting line-up for the West Tigers to face North Queensland on Friday night.

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All is forgiven at Wests Tigers, with coach Mick Potter making an SOS call to star playmaker Benji Marshall to save their sinking season.

Potter made the bold decision to bench his star five-eighth last week, but the move backfired with the Tigers falling behind 16-0 after 17 minutes before Marshall was injected into the game.

But that move has been shelved after just one match, with Marshall reinstated in his No.6 jersey for Friday night's showdown with North Queensland at Leichhardt Oval.

"There's only one way to get out of a slump and that's to play yourself out of it," Marshall told reporters on Tuesday.

"You play well, everyone shuts up."

Potter's quick change of heart was supported by Sydney Roosters superstar Sonny Bill Williams, who said people who were prepared to write Marshall off had short memories.

"He will come back. He is a class player," Williams said.

"I think a lot of people have short memories.

"It wasn't that long ago he was winning the World Cup for New Zealand."

In other news for the last-placed Tigers, off-season recruit Braith Anasta returns at lock while under-pressure forward Adam Blair switches from the second-row to prop.

Cronulla welcome back skipper Paul Gallen following a two-week absence with a knee injury.

Their match against South Sydney shapes as the NSW captain's only chance to get a match under his belt before the State of Origin opener on June 5.

The Sharks also welcome back fellow Australian back-rower Luke Lewis, while young star Tyrone Peachey has been named on an extended bench.

Canterbury have been forced to call on centre Tim Lafai once again, following the two-week suspension to Krisnan Inu.

Lafai slots straight into the centres, while coach Des Hasler named Tony Williams in the back-row despite the damaging ball-runner expected to miss one to two weeks with an ankle injury.

Josh Jackson, named on the bench, is tipped to come into the starting line-up.

"We're pretty fortunate that we've got Timmy Lafai there who is more than capable of filling that role," Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis said.

Newcastle recalled NSW hopeful Akuila Uate (ankle) to the wing for their clash with the Warriors, whose only changes from last weekend's record-breaking loss to Penrith were injury-related.

Fullback Kevin Locke (back) and centre Dane Nielsen (ribs) return in place of Glen Fisiiahi and Carlos Tuimavave, who drop back to an extended bench.

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North Queensland's halfback battle appears to have swung back in favour of bad boy Robert Lui, who scored a try as a late inclusion in last week's tight loss to the Roosters.

Lui has been retained at No 7, with alternate halves option Ray Thompson named on the bench.

Gold Coast will be without Beau Falloon (broken leg) and gun winger David Mead, who is sidelined with a broken jaw, for Sunday's clash with Parramatta, who have recalled second-rower Matt Ryan from NSW Cup, following a hand injury to Kelepi Tanginoa.

St George Illawarra have again left winger Brett Morris (knee) out for the clash with Penrith, who are unchanged following their outstanding victory.

Morris' ongoing knee complaint leaves his position in Laurie Daley's NSW Origin squad for game one in serious doubt.

- AAP

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