Benji pleads, find me a NRL home

Written By Unknown on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 23.40

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When Benji Marshall left the Wests Tigers six months ago the star playmaker said he would never play for another NRL club — today the 29-year-old has issued a public plea to all clubs to give him one last shot at rugby league.

After being told he had no future in Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues, Marshall yesterday instructed his long-time manager Martin Tauber to find him a new home.


With Marshall and his wife Zoe having purchased a home in Auckland this month, the Warriors shape as the most logical destination. New Zealand recruitment manager Dean Bell also chased Marshall hard when the playmaker's relationship with the Tigers began to sour after being dropped to the bench.

Benji Marshall runs the ball for the Auckland Blues against the Brumbies Source: Getty Images

But it's believed interim coach Andrew McFadden is reluctant to turn to Marshall as a solution to his side's woes. However, McFadden could be overruled by Warriors owner Eric Watson.

Tauber last night claimed Marshall's preference was to return to Sydney, despite the fact he's making big money via endorsements across the Tasman. Tauber also stressed that no deal had been done with a rival club.



"He wants to come back to Sydney," Tauber said.

"He will come back, no question, so we have got to find a home."

Tauber said Marshall sat down with Auckland coach Sir John Kirwan on Sunday morning and was told he was no longer wanted at the Blues.

Benji Marshall farewells the crowd after his last home game for the Wests Tigers. Source: News Limited

Tauber explained: "He spoke to Sir John Kirwan yesterday morning and (Kirwan) said: 'Look, it is just not working. There are some choices'.

"You can go back and play club rugby in Auckland. It was highly unlikely he would play in their Super 15 squad again this year. He said otherwise we could probably release you to go back to the NRL."

And Tauber was adamant that the former New Zealand captain had not done a deal with any NRL club.

Benji Marshall in action for the Blues. Source: News Limited

"We have got nothing," Tauber said. "We have not spoken to anybody. This all only took place yesterday morning and we weren't anticipating or planning anything."


Reminded of Marshall's parting comment that he would never play against the West Tigers, Tauber said: "Well, he has given me the instruction to try and find him an NRL club. That comment he made was probably made at the wrong time. It won't exist."

Asked if he had spoken to any NRL clubs, Tauber added: "None whatsoever. The piece about Salford, I have never spoken to them. There has been speculation about Cronulla, I have never spoken to Steve Noyce or Darren Mooney or any of them."

Benji Marshall makes a break during for the Tigers against the Dragons. Source: News Limited

It's believed Marshall, however, has reached out to the Sharks via some of his former Tigers teammates who are now playing in the Shire, including Beau Ryan.

Marshall makes no secret about the fact he wants to call Sydney home. And he wants to make his NRL comeback sooner rather than later.

"We have got some personal things to deal with because he has just bought a beautiful new home (in Auckland).

"He could play by the middle of May and remember the deadline is the end of June for transfer."

What do you think of Benji's decision to quit rugby?


Each club's first-choice halves combination and whether they
are interested in signing Marshall

BRONCOS - Five-eighth: Josh Hoffman, Halfback: Ben Hunt, CEO Paul White: "No."

BULLDOGS - Five-eighth: Josh Reynolds, Halfback: Trent Hodkinson, CEO Raelene Castle: "I don't think so. Not something we've discussed."

RAIDERS - Five-eighth: Jack Wighton, Halfback: Terry Campese, Coach Ricky Stuart: "Not us."

COWBOYS - Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston, Halfback: Robert Lui, CEO Peter Jourdain: "No."

TITANS - Five-eighth: Aidan Sezer, Halfback: Albert Kelly, CEO Graham Annesley: "No."

SEA EAGLES - Five-eighth: Kieran Foran, Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans, CEO David Perry: "No interest."

STORM - Five-eighth: Ben Hampton/Ben Roberts, Halfback: Cooper Cronk, Football director Frank Ponissi: "Benji would be a great addition but there is one problem — $$."

KNIGHTS - Five-eighth: Jarrod Mullen, Halfback: Tyrone Roberts, CEO Matt Gidley: "No. He is not in our recruitment plans."

EELS - Five-eighth: Corey Norman, Halfback: Chris Sandow/Luke Kelly, CEO Scott Seward: "No."

PANTHERS - Five-eighth: Jamie Soward, Halfback: Peter Wallace, CEO Phil Moss: "No interest."

RABBITOHS - Five-eighth: Luke Keary/John Sutton, Halfback: Adam Reynolds, CEO Shane Richardson: "Absolutely no interest whatsoever."

SHARKS - Five-eighth: Todd Carney, Halfback: Jeff Robson, CEO Steve Noyce: "We haven't had any discussions with Benji or his management."

DRAGONS - Five-eighth: Gareth Widdop, Halfback: Michael Witt/Sam Williams, CEO Peter Doust: "We have no interest in Benji."

ROOSTERS - Five-eighth: James Maloney, Halfback: Mitchell Pearce, COO Brian Canavan: "We're very happy with our halves and have both locked in to long-term arrangements with the club."

WARRIORS - Five-eighth: Chad Townsend/Thomas Leuluai, Halfback: Shaun Johnson, Unavailable for comment

TIGERS - Five-eighth: Curtis Sironen, Halfback: Luke Brooks, CEO Grant Mayer: "There's no room in our top 25 for Benji Marshall next year."

Which club will Benji Marshall most likely end up at?

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