Api Koroisau hits out amid NRL storm around Benji Marshall's mid-season holiday with family

The coach's decision to take a mid-season break has not gone down well.

Wests Tigers captain Api Koroisau has fired back at the criticism around coach Benji Marshall's decision to take a mid-season trip to Fiji with his family. The entire Tigers squad was given several days off during the major bye round before Wednesday night's State of Origin opener in Sydney. And Marshall decided to use the time off to have a short holiday in Fiji with his wife and their two children.

The problem for many critics is that the Tigers have lost eight games straight and are in second-last on the NRL ladder with just two wins from 11 games this season. And Marshall's side is trying to avoid a third-straight wooden spoon, with critics calling his mid-season break a 'bad look' and suggesting he should be working overtime with his coaching staff to turn the fortunes around at the NRL strugglers.

Wests Tigers captain Api Koroisau can't understand the criticism around Benji Marshall's decision to take a short holiday with his wife and kids. Pic: Getty
Wests Tigers captain Api Koroisau can't understand the criticism around Benji Marshall's decision to take a short holiday with his wife and kids. Pic: Getty

Marshall said he felt the short getaway was necessary to "recharge and refresh" his batteries ahead of a crucial run home in the back half of the season. And Koroisau said he can't understand why Marshall's break has caused so much uproar when the entire playing group and coaching staff at the Tigers had been granted some time off.

“It made no sense. I had no clue why you’d even get upset about something like that,” Koroisau said. “We had the whole week off as a club, everyone. The fact that everyone got up in (arms) about it, I’ll leave that for another day anyway.”

Wests Tigers CEO Shane Richardson also copped flak for jetting off overseas, even though it was for work purposes. Richardson travelled to the UK in an attempt to recruit players for the struggling franchise. Marshall's men face a crucial clash against the Dragons on Friday night but the Tigers coach made no apologies for his mid-season break.

"I told all my staff to have the time off, mentally freshen up, and not even think about footy," Marshall told The Daily Telegraph. "In my view, it’s important to recharge and refresh. I’ve played under a lot of coaches, including Wayne Bennett, and sometimes when you’re going through a rough trot like we’ve experienced with eight losses, doing more isn’t always the answer.

"That doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t care or work less. You want fresh energy. We've had 11 games straight. Yes, I’m in Fiji. I could have had these days off in New Zealand or even Sydney. Is it that big a difference? We’ll get back to work... and prepare for St George-Illawarra."


The game against the Dragons has added motivation for Koroisau, who will be keen to show NSW coach Michael Maguire why he should have picked him for State of Origin. The Blues opted to go with Reece Robson at No.9 instead of Koroisau and the Tigers skipper says he respects the decision and just wants his fellow New South Welshman to go well on Wednesday night.

Seen here, Wests Tigers skipper Api Koroisau.
Wests Tigers skipper Api Koroisau was overlooked for the NSW State of Origin side for Game I. Pic: Getty

“I’ll keep the conversation private but he let me know before the team came out,” Koroisau said about Maguire's Origin call. “Obviously, you respect his decision. I think he picked a great team, I think he picked a really hardworking team. I’m actually just excited to watch the boys get out there...

“My hand will always be up in case he ever needs me. At the end of the day, I’m just excited for the opportunities I did get. I’m here if he needs me... He (Robson) is an incredible athlete, a great rugby league player and especially a great hooker. I think defensively he’s really strong, he’s really fit, too. I’m expecting him to go out there and steal a few metres out there too.”

with AAP