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'I don't regret my decision': Benji reveals why he's going

No deal: Benji Marshall says he believed he would stay with the Tigers until 2017.

No deal: Benji Marshall says he believed he would stay with the Tigers until 2017. Photo: Brendan Esposito

An emotional Benji Marshall says he has no regrets about his decision to leave Wests Tigers at the end of this season, declaring: ''For myself, for my game, for my life, for my happiness, I had to do this. I weighed up a lot of things, I wrote down a lot of stuff, pros and cons, but my decision was about what was best for me, and I thought that I needed a change.''

That change will see Marshall leave the Tigers at the end of this season, assuming club officials allow him a release from the last two years of his contract. Breaking his silence on the shock move, Marshall said he was excited about the prospect of a switch to rugby union while also devastated to be leaving his home for more than a decade.

That said: ''I don't regret my decision at all. Some people aren't going to be happy, but those people aren't living my life. I am.''

Asked why he had made the call to leave the club he helped to a premiership win in 2005, Marshall said: ''It's a combination of a lot of things. A lot of my friends have left, my close friends, over the past couple of years, who were on contract, who were pushed out. People go on about the fact that I had two more years on my contract, and that I'm walking out … some of my teammates who left had agreed to contracts and were pushed out. But that's OK? At the end of the day, the decision had to be made then and there, and I made it.''

The ''handshake agreement'' that he maintains was made - which would have seen him stay with the club until the end of 2017 - was another reason. The five-eighth revealed he had told family, friends and teammates that he would be staying with the club until 2017 after that upgraded and extended deal was, in his eyes, agreed upon.

''I thought I was going to be here until 2017,'' he said. ''I'm celebrating with my mates about it two months ago. And because there was new management, they didn't make that deal, or know anything about that deal, so they couldn't honour that deal. But at the end of the day, I'm a big enough man about it to know that a decision had to be made.

''In the past, I've probably made decisions based upon what I thought what would make everyone else happy. For where I'm at now, and where my life is now, I've made this decision based upon what I thought was the best thing for me and my family. That's the first time that I've ever felt like I've made that decision for me.''

With interest from Super Rugby outfits the Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels and Auckland Blues, Marshall said he had no doubt that he could make the transition to the rival code ''with a lot of hard work, and a lot of attention''.

''I grew up playing it,'' Marshall said. ''I started when I was four. It won't be easy. It will definitely be hard. I watch rugby all the time - it's not like I haven't watched it. But getting out there and remembering positional plays is going to be the first thing.

''I feel like I can still offer a lot to rugby union, on and off the field. For where I'm at in my career, and where I'm at in my life … they reckon a change is as good as a holiday, but it's not going to be much of a holiday, because I'm going to have to work pretty hard.''

Marshall also denied vehemently that he had been motivated by money and greed.

''I made the decision without having a back-up option, or having a deal signed to go to any other club,'' he said. ''Effectively, at the end of this year, I don't have anywhere to go.

''That's the gamble. And that was a hard decision to make. So anyone who tries to say that this decision was about money is full of shit. I'm going to be getting less to play rugby, not more.

''I'm not a money-hungry, disloyal person with no integrity. If anything, I feel I'm the opposite.

''Until you know what sort of person I am, and know the story behind what's gone on, say what you like. But if it was about money, I would have left five years ago to go to Japan, when David Gallop stopped me.

''I wouldn't have taken pay-cuts all those years to help the club be under the cap.

''If it's about money, why would I do all those things? If it's about loyalty, why wouldn't have I have left five years ago, when I had offers from other clubs? Why wouldn't I have done that? Why wouldn't I just go now and play for another NRL club? Why wouldn't I just do that?

''Because that's not me, that's not the sort of person I am. It's more than that. I love the club. Out of respect for the fans of the club, the club, and my teammates, I won't play against them. And that's final. That's it. There's no other [NRL] club I want to play for. At the end of this year, my NRL days are over.''

43 comments so far

  • Well done Bengi, You have made the right decsion. If you can't trust club mangement,why stay around . You know you would be dropped like a hot potato, if you had a couple of years sub parr.. You have done everything in league , now you have a shot other titles and goals.
    Good luck with the rest of your career and life.

    cheers TeeGee

    Vancouver,BC Canada
    Date and time
    July 18, 2013, 1:42AM
    • Sorry teegee. Your appraisal of Benji is a lot of drivel. You can't even spell his name.

      If you listen to the media, he's a superstar. If you watch and understand the game, he's terribly overrated. Can't tackle, won't run to the line, and whilst he can pull off a fancy pass or kick, it's way too inconsistent. The flick pass in the '05 GF put him on the map and kept him there. He makes crucial errors, plays for himself and seems more concerned about his hair than playing footy.

      He won't handle the toughness in rugby. Better off in touch footy or soccer.

      the confronting reality
      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 1:13PM
    • Right on. He's playing sub par because his hearts not in it. I'd sign him in a flash. Of course, I'm an Eeels supporter. Marshall linking with Hayne. Christ that would be good. Sigh.

      Matt Hartley.
      Koh Samui
      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 2:44PM
  • It's clear that Tauber and Marshall are trying to coerce a release from the Tigers by freely using the media to tell their side of the story. The constant theme being pushed is that a deal was done a long time ago and it has been undone by changed management. If a deal was done, and not documented and executed, surely that responsibility rests with Tauber. Speaking generally, these "managers" do very little for their commission, usually taking advantage of the fact that most NRL players have little to no business skills. I don't class Marshall that way, so, Tauber's ineffective management is really where Marshall should be directing his criticism, not at "the Club he loves". I suspect this is more about losing Tim Sheens as coach (and thus defacto control over the team). In that regard, I applaud Mick Potter for exerting some long overdue control. Send Marshall back to the feeder team for the rest of the season and make him earn his release playing out of the spotlight.

    Arizona, USA
    Date and time
    July 18, 2013, 4:25AM
    • Spot on Steve. What kind of manager doesn't follow up on a handshake agreement by getting something on paper as soon as possible? He stuffed up, plain and simple.

      I don't blame Benji at all. And as a Tigers fan, I hope they don't play him in NSW Cup - I want to see him on the field as much as possible, and hopefully with this weight off his shoulders he can finish on a high.

      Andrew B
      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 9:57AM
  • Nooo, not another SBW wannabe! If the Waratahs pick him up and stick with him then its once again a massive kick in the guts to every loyal rugby player in the squad.
    Send him overseas to learn the ropes. The last thing i want to read is Benji struggling to fit in.
    Rugby is a hell of a lot different from league! The only thing this guy will contribute is media attention and putting any Australian Super Rugby franchise on the backburner.

    Date and time
    July 18, 2013, 4:41AM
    • Please?! Seriously! are you really comparing the SBW incident to Benjis situation. Pull your head in champ and chew some more sour grapes!

      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 1:30PM
    • Rubbish. The 'tahs recruited Folau, best recruitment they make in years. Test should''ve shut the rah rah loyalists up.

      All the best in union Benji, hope you prove the critics wrong. Thanks for the memories at Tigers, but I think it's time.

      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 2:58PM
  • It is all about money. Poor guy was getting $750,000 per season but wanted $1000,000........

    Is this guy kidding. He is worth more like $200,000...

    Benji lives in a dream world. Let him go to rugby. If they are dumb enough to pay him that kind of money let them. Just don't let the door hit him on the way out.

    Date and time
    July 18, 2013, 6:48AM
    • You just proved Benji's point that it's not about the money. He's walking away from $750,000 to nothing. Good on ya mate!

      Date and time
      July 18, 2013, 8:54AM

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