Marshall set to make emotional NRL return

Wests Tigers premiership-winner Benji Marshall is set to play his first NRL match for the club in 1644 days after overcoming a calf injury in time for their opening match of the season.

Marshall set to make emotional NRL return

Marshall set to make emotional NRL return

It will be an emotional return for Marshall, who also feared missing the round-one clash against the Sydney Roosters as he and wife Zoe waited for the birth of their first child.

The blockbuster clash also marks Cooper Cronk and ex-Tigers star James Tedesco's first NRL match for the premiership favourites.

Marshall proved his fitness in Friday's captain's run at ANZ Stadium, where Tigers coach Ivan Cleary also confirmed the Marshall family welcomed a boy two weeks ago.

Marshall set for emotional return to Tigers colours. Pic: Getty

"It's obviously a very proud moment for Benji. It went over time a little bit so it's just a great moment for him and now he's looking forward to playing footy," Cleary said.

Cleary said there were no concerns over Marshall's fitness, and was glowing in his praise of the former Brisbane playmaker's impact since returning to the club.

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Marshall famously led the joint venture to their first premiership in 2005, but left the club eight years later to pursue a career in rugby union.

He has since played at St George Illawarra and Brisbane.

"It's definitely good to have Benji back. It's good to see him happy, good to see someone who's done so much for the club really want to come back, love the club," Cleary said.

"It's definitely a positive for us."

Marshall is expected to start on the bench before coming on in the halves against the Roosters, with five-eighth Josh Reynolds likely to give Pita Godinet a rest at hooker.

Cleary admitted there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding his line-up, with long-time winger David Nofoaluma surprisingly dropped to reserve grade.

Tuimoala Lolohea will also start at fullback, two weeks after being omitted from a first grade trial and forced to play NSW Cup.

"There's probably more questions than answers at the moment and some of those answers we'll find out tomorrow," Cleary said.

"It's going to take some time. There's a lot of new people, it's almost a completely new team in many respects. So I'm not expecting it all to be perfect tomorrow."


* Cooper Cronk becomes the only player to play his first 300 games for one club before moving to another team.

* James Tedesco led the NRL last year for tackle busts with 153.

* The Roosters have won their past 10 clashes against the Tigers, and 14 of their past 15.

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