Benji addresses NRL future after milestone match
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire wants Benji Marshall back again next season. Marshall reckons he could play on, too. But he won't commit just yet.
Amid much fanfare, Benjamin Quentin "Benji" Marshall played his 300th NRL game on Sunday. What a player, what a role model.
After the game, a 30-18 loss to Parramatta, the NRL made a special on-field presentation to Marshall where chief executive Todd Greenberg awarded him the match ball.
Marshall led the Tigers on to the field through a guard of honour and a giant banner, holding 15-month-old son Fox.
"For him to keep playing … I believe that he can," Maguire said.
Pressed on next season, Marshall said: "I feel great and I feel like I could do it but I'm not alone in this decision. I think I can do it but there is no time line for me.
"The important thing for me is to make the finals and win the competition. Realistically, that's the focus.
"I just don't want to get caught up worrying about next year now because now is important to me, our group, our team. I'm sure that discussion will come but for now we need to win."
Marshall became just the 38th player in NRL history to pass the 300-game milestone.
There were pre-game video highlights of Marshall's career on the Bankwest Stadium big screen.
Family and friends performed a post-game haka in front of Marshall to celebrate.
The 30m line markings were altered to read 300. And there was also a #BENJI300 painted on to the playing surface.
The Tigers' "300 Benji" T-shirts sold out within 10 minutes.
"It was special but to be honest I would rather have got the result," Marshall said.
"I hate losing. It's hard to be excited or celebrate because I wanted to win and make the finals.
"I can't call it a job. To play rugby league for a living, that's when I pinch myself and think how lucky I am. I have a lot of gratitude right now."
Former Tigers teammate Dene Halatau said Marshall changed the way rugby league was played.
"A lot of young kids that ended up playing the game was because of Benji Marshall. I was a massive fan of his as a teammate," Halatau said. "I was just fortunate to run alongside him and get to witness it first-hand.
"Benji, I guess, changed the way a lot of people approached the game. He added that flair,"