Tigers back Marshall
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.’’