Sport Rugby League Benji no certainty for Eels debut

Benji no certainty for Eels debut

Benji Marshall
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Coach Steve Price says he’ll delay a decision on whether Benji Marshall plays his first NRL game for St George Illawarra on Saturday until later in the week.

Marshall trained with the Dragons for the first time in Wollongong on Tuesday after signing a two-and-a-half-deal with the NRL club on Friday.

Price said he was happy with Marshall’s fitness after his time with Super Rugby’s Auckland Blues, but wasn’t yet sure whether to throw the former Kiwis captain straight back into the NRL against the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday.

“I won’t be naming Benji (in the team on Tuesday),” said Price.

“I thought he trained well today but it is a long week and there are still a few things we need to tick off before we actually get down that path.

“It is about making sure he is right and ready to go and he has the kilometres in his legs and he understands our structures and our systems in place.

“I don’t think it would be too much of an expectation (for him to play) it isn’t that long he has been out of the game.

“We will make a call as we go in the coming days.

“I can’t give a definite answer whether he will be in the (NSW Cup side Illawarra) Cutters or playing against Parramatta.

“It is still too early to tell.”

Marshall’s former side Wests Tigers, who he left at the end of 2013, are reportedly demanding $150,000 in compensation before he will be allowed play for the Dragons.

Price said he was confident the issue wouldn’t stand in the way of Marshall making his Dragons debut this weekend if selected.

“I’m sure that will get fixed up,” Price said.

“That is a decision between the NRL and (Dragons chief executive) Peter (Doust).

“It is not an issue at all.”