Injured Wests Tigers star Adam Doueihi has handed rookie coach Benji Marshall the ultimate praise as the struggling club looks to bounce back from back-to-back wooden spoon results. The Tigers finished another poor season at the bottom of the ladder in 2023 with Marshall taking over towards the end of the campaign.
Marshall has his first pre-season with the Tigers as head coach with many disillusioned fans hoping the club legend can turn their fortunes around. The coach has a difficult task ahead of him, trying to bring life into a Tigers side that has offered very little for more than a decade.
Benji Marshall took over for the final three games of the season, but the Tigers were absolutely humiliated in round 27 against Manly 54-12 to end the season on a new low. The Tigers finished with just four wins and with a for-and-against of -290.
In an attempt to revitalise the side, the club legend has brought in Canberra halfback Aiden Sezer, ex-Melbourne centre Justin Olam and for the 2025 season Penrith five-eighth Jarome Luai. Marshall has confirmed Sezer will replace Luke Brooks as halfback after he left the club at the end of last year to join Manly. But who will join him in the halves is yet to be decided.
The Tigers have a bye first round, before taking on the Raiders to kick-start their 2024 campaign. And fans would be delighted to hear that the players are buying into Marshall's philosophy.
Speaking during the pre-season sessions, Doueihi offered the ultimate praise to their new coach as the club looks to break their finals footy wait. “Even watching from afar when he’s directing training and directing the video reviews and previews, you can see that he’s really in charge in giving the boys a simplified game plan for what we want to do this year,” Doueihi said on Marshall's coaching style.
“I feel as though the more pre-season has grown on us, the more the boys have bought in. Benji is a well-respected person, and that goes a long way for a coach. He’s a very honest coach which is sometimes very hard to find in a coach, so we’re lucky that Benji is very honest with us. It’s great that he sometimes jumps into some drills and physically shows us how to do them and then we follow.”
Adam Doueihi returning from injury
Doueihi is coming off a brutal ACL injury from last year. The utility is working his way back to fitness as he recovers from the tough injury, but he isn't expected to be ready until the second half of the season. However, he understands he faces a tough task in getting back into the team.
The Tigers signed Aidan Sezer, Latu Fainu and Jayden Sullivan and Doueihi knows he will have to work his way back into the team in 2024. And Doueihi was confident he would find a place in the team due to his versatility.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.