Wests Tigers half Benji Marshall.

Cleary hopes to have Marshall fit for Raiders next week

Wests Tigers’ coach Ivan Cleary is confident Benji Marshall’s injury is not serious, after he was forced from the field in the second half of his side’s 25-16 win over the Newcastle Knights.

Marshall left McDonald Jones Stadium in the 68th minute and sat on the sidelines for the remainder of the match with a large bag of ice strapped around his calf.

The Tigers were leading 22-4 early in the second half, with the Knights threatening a comeback with tries late in the match to Kalyn Ponga and Aidan Guerra.

It was already a tough night for Marshal, who travelled back to New Zealand mid-week following the death of his grandfather.

"I am not too sure, he has done it early, and has had calf problems before," Cleary said.

"We've got a long turn-around for next week [Canberra Raiders], so I don't think it's too bad but it is something that has haunted him throughout the year.

"He's not the youngest bloke, so hopefully it's not too bad – I guess we will find out in the next couple of days.

"It was hard tonight, because Benji was basically a passenger physically, but it was good to have him out there in terms of leadership and direction," the coach said. 

Cleary was happy with the way his side adapted to the structural changes, brought about by the injuries to not only Marshall, but winger Corey Thompson (leg).

"We had to change things around on the run, but they were going through the same thing with Mitchell Pearce, so it was that sort of game in that sense," Cleary said.

"But when they got some possession, and when Kalyn Ponga went to the halves, he was just turning up everywhere and was a real threat, and got them going with an individual try.

"But in the end, we defended when we needed to, and got the job done."

The win keeps the Wests Tigers in touch with the top-eight, just two points behind the Warriors in eighth spot. But the Warriors have a game in hand, and Cleary knows just how tough the run home will be.

"We have to step it up again, we have to go down and play Canberra – they are a big tough physical side who gave us our worst result [48-12, round 15] previously," the Tigers coach said.

"We have got to do better each week, that’s how it goes."