Tigers back Mar­shall

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL 2011 -

WESTS Tigers chief ex­e­cut i ve Stephen Humphreys claimed Benji Mar­shall had the sup­port of the club, its fans and spon­sors as the star five-eighth vowed to fight the as­sault charge that has cast a shadow over the open­ing round of the NRL.

Mar­shall yes­ter­day fronted the me­dia for the first time since the early Satur­day morn­ing al­ter­ca­tion which has him fac­ing an as­sault charge in Down­ing Cen­tre lo­cal court on April 20.

W h i l e t h e 2 6 - y e a r - o l d thanked those who had of­fered him sup­port fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent – which oc­curred just af­ter 3am out­side a McDonal d ’ s o u t l e t o n Ge­orge Street in Syd­ney’s CBD – Humphreys said the club was happy with how their mar­quee name had con­ducted him­self in the lead-up to the al­leged al­ter­ca­tion.

With the case now be­fore the courts, Humphreys said he was not pre­pared to com­ment on the in­ci­dent it­self, but was firm in his and the club’s back­ing of Mar­shall.

‘‘ We’ve had an over­whelm­ing re­sponse of sup­port for Benji from our mem­bers and also cor­po­rates, we’ve had scores and scores of emails a n d s u p p o r t f o r h i m , ’ ’ Humphreys said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ We’ve had meet­ings with each of our ma­jor spon­sors and all of them are very sup­port­ive of us as a club and Benji as an in­di­vid­ual and now we’ll let the court process take the course.’’

Mar­shall’s pres­ence af­ter 3am in a part of in­nerS y d n e y n o t o r i o u s f o r al­co­hol-fu­elled in­ci­dents has been the sub­ject of plenty of p u b l i c d e b a t e , b u t Humphreys said the club is sat­is­fied he hadn’t acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately.

Mar­shall had en­dured a hec­tic pro­mo­tional week which in­cluded launch­ing the NRL sea­son as the new ‘‘’ face of the game’’ and culmi n a t e d wi t h t h e f u n d -

‘‘ The last sev­eral days have ob­vi­ously been stress­ful for me, par­tic­u­larly as they have re­sulted in my be­ing charged by the po­lice,’’ Mar­shall said.

‘‘ I have been ad­vised by my lawyers that be­cause I have been charged i t i s now nec­es­sary to al­low the legal process to take its course.

‘‘ I can how­ever con­firm my in­ten­tion to de­fend the present charge.’’

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