Benji Marshall has put on a brave face after his shock axing by coach Michael Maguire following their last round upset loss to Gold Coast, vowing to fight his way back into the side.
Among mass team changes for Saturday’s NRL clash with Canberra, Josh Reynolds replaced Marshall in the halves a day after he failed a disputed roadside drug test in what has already been a turbulent year for the ex-NSW star.
“I was a little bit shocked and disappointed,” Marshall told Fox League’s NRL 360 when asked about his axing.
“He (Maguire) was up front and honest with me which I appreciated. He said I wasn’t at the level that he wanted.
“What the coach has done is really put everyone on notice. We are looking for consistency, my challenge is to find that consistency.
“I will train hard and fight my way back into the team somewhere, whether that is next week or not, I will do my best to get back.”
But Marshall said the disappointing news after a “pretty brutal” review of their loss to the Titans had been tempered by Reynolds’ selection.
It provided Reynolds a timely shot in the arm after a rollercoaster 24 hours.
Reynolds had returned a positive result to a random drug test after flying back to Sydney with the Tigers following the Titans’ boilover win in Brisbane on Sunday.
He was pulled over by police on Monday morning while driving home but the Tigers said a subsequent test at Sutherland Police Station came back negative before being sent for further analysis, which could take months.
It was more drama for Reynolds after he became embroiled in an off-field scandal involving allegations he was conned by his ex-partner.
“Obviously he has had things not go well for him. As a mate and a teammate you feel really sorry for him,” Marshall said of Reynolds.
“No one deserves the opportunity more than Josh does. He is such a team player.
“He was due for some good luck. This is his opportunity to show what he can do on the field – I am really happy for him.”
After not being picked the last fortnight, Reynolds gets a run among six changes to the Tigers.
Marshall warned Maguire may wield the axe again if they did not improve against Canberra.
“He thinks this is the best 17 for this week and they will do the job. I suppose if that doesn’t happen then there will be more changes,” he said.