NRL 2024: Api Koroisau defends Benji Marshall’s Tigers holiday

Wests Tigers skipper Api Koroisau says the outrage over manager Benji Marshall going on holiday during the rest week “made no sense”, with the hooker saying he is always available for the Blues if they decide to go on a ‘other direction.

While mid-season holidays are fairly common in the NRL, some people have questioned why Marshall would leave the country in his first year as coach with his team on an eight-game losing streak.

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Marshall went to Fiji with his family as the players were told to freshen up after football and Koroisau cannot understand why people would criticize his coach for taking a little trip away.

“It didn’t make sense. I had no idea why you would get upset about something like that,” she said.

“We had the whole week off as a club, everyone. The fact that everyone stood up about it, I’ll leave that for another day though.

The send-off came while the Blues were training in the Blue Mountains and Sydney, with many people shocked that Koroisau had been overlooked for the series opener.

Koroisau started the first game last year but missed the rest of the series after breaking his jaw while playing for the Tigers.

The veteran started at centre-half for Souths when they won the 2014 title under Michael Maguire, but that wasn’t enough for him to earn selection this time around, with the Blues manager opting for Reece Robson.

“I’ll keep the conversation private but he let me know before the team came out,” Koroisau said.

“Obviously you respect his decision. I think he picked a great team, I think he picked a really hard-working team.

“I’m actually just excited to see the guys come out tomorrow night. I’m just grateful I had the opportunity then.

“My hand will always be up in case he ever needs me. At the end of the day, I’m just excited about the opportunities I’ve had. I’m here if she needs me.”

Koroisau was also asked about Robson, who will wear the blue shirt for the first time on Wednesday evening.

“(Robson) is an incredible athlete, a great rugby league player and above all a great hooker,” he said.

“I think defensively he’s really strong, he’s also really fit. I expect him to come out and steal some yards out there too.

While Koroisau was diplomatic, teammate Alex Twal was amazed that the game’s “best hooker” was overlooked after a brilliant start to the year.

“I’m surprised (he missed Origin),” the Tigers supporter said. “I think he’s the best hooker in the game, if not the top three.

“He took it like a true champion does. He put all his attention into preparing us well this week and playing his part in Friday’s game (against the Dragons).

“He is the ultimate captain and professional, that’s how he approached the situation this week.”

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