Benji running back to League
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:55
We had an honest conversation
High-profile code hopper Benji Marshall is ready to tuck his tail between his legs and run back to Rugby League.
The Australian media reported on Monday that Marshall has asked for an immediate release from the Blues Super Rugby outfit, in order to return to the National Rugby League in Australia.
According to the reports Marshall has asked his manager Martin Tauber to open discussions with NRL clubs.
Marshall, who will probably rank as the biggest flop coming from League, has struggled to adapt to Rugby Union after much hype was attached to his move from League this season.
However, after starting at flyhalf in three pre-season games, he failed to make any impact.
Marshall has played only one full game of Super Rugby for the 11th-placed Blues - at fullback against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein - while making five reserve bench appearances and being axed from the matchday squad twice.
The 29-year-old Marshall at the weekend instructed his manager, Tauber, to begin talks with NRL clubs who may be interested in signing him.
The move comes after a weekend meeting with John Kirwan, in which the Blues coach suggested he either play the rest of the season in the lower tiers to help prepare him for the 2015 Super Rugby competition or return to Rugby League.
"It just hasn't worked out, it is disappointing," Tauber told News Corp.
"He's not had the game time he'd like.
"This has all happened over the last 36 hours."
Asked if Marshall would be moving back to Sydney, Tauber said they had not spoken to any NRL clubs yet.
"It might be Queensland or it might be NSW, it depends who is interested in him," Tauber said.
Cronulla, St George Illawarra, Parramatta, Melbourne and Brisbane have been suggested as club who could be interested in Marshall.
Marshall played 11 seasons and 201 matches for Wests Tigers since joining them as a schoolboy in 2003, and won a Premiership there in 2005.
Kirwan on Monday praised the progress made in the performances of his two starting flyhalves this season - Chris Noakes and 20-year-old rookie Simon Hickey - but wasn't so effusive about Marshall.
"Our No.10 issue is a problem," said Kirwan told reporters in Auckland on Monday.
"With Chris getting a bit dinged before half-time, we saw that.
"Benji and I have had an honest conversation and spoken about where we're at.
"He's an incredibly good team man and an incredibly honest man so we're having those discussions and moving forward."
Sources: Sydney Morning Herald and AAP
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