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Tigers close door on Marshall move to Japanese rugby

Benji Marshall ... could be heading to Japan.

Benji Marshall ... could be heading to Japan. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys has slammed the door on any attempt by star playmaker Benji Marshall to seek a release to play in Japan, saying: "Let me put your minds at rest. This will not be happening."

Humphreys released a statement in response to the comments by Marshall's manager Martin Tauber, who had said he would raise the prospect of a release to play in the rich Japanese rugby union competition with the Tigers boss.

Marshall is contracted with the Tigers until the end of 2015, but Tauber has raised the possibility of a guest stint in Japan as a result of Sonny Bill Williams' signing with Sydney Roosters this week.

"I have spoken with Benji's manager, Martin Tauber, this morning who assures me that Benji is totally committed to his contract with Wests Tigers for the next three seasons," Humphreys said. "The most important message for [Wests Tigers supporter] is that Benji Marshall will remain an integral member of our team and will not be seeking a release from his contract.

"Benji is currently with his team-mates at a pre-season training camp on the Central Coast. The boys have been working very hard under the watchful eye of new NRL coach Mick Potter and physical performance manager Hayden Knowles."

Marshall was prevented from having a guest stint in Japan in 2009 by then NRL chief executive David Gallop, but Tauber believes Williams' signing could open the door for his player to explore opportunities in the rich Japanese competition.

Marshall and Tauber were both angered by Gallop's refusal to allow the New Zealand captain to play an off-season in Japan, even though he was due to come off contract with the Tigers. Marshall subsequently signed with the Tigers until the end of 2015.

"I'd certainly say he needs to make a choice, because he can't do both," Gallop said in 2009. "I can't think of a business which would allow one of its star performers to go work for the opposition in the off-season.

"If I work for Coke, I'm not going to be allowed to go to Pepsi for a few months.

"It's more important to us we keep the integrity of our salary cap than trying to chase every time there's a big offer from overseas."

Tauber told Fairfax Media this morning that he was keen to have discussion with the Tigers regarding a rugby stint in Japan.

"I'll raise it with Stephen [Humphreys] ," Tauber said. "Some months ago, Benji raised the issue with me, about the possibility to secure his financial future. At that time, I did have some preliminary talks with some people over in Japan."

Now that Williams has signed with the Roosters, while still contracted with Japanese rugby union club Panasonic Wild Knights, Tauber believed he may have had the ammunition to secure his player a stint in Japan while still being able to play in the NRL.

"If we were going to do it, it would be for the 2013-2014 Japanese season," Tauber said. "It's something I want to discuss.

"The difficulty is he would need to get a release. He is contracted to 2015, so we would have to get permission from the club and the NRL."

 

80 comments so far

  • Can he count past 5 though? League players and fans struggle with that concept.

    Commenter
    matt
    Location
    syd
    Date and time
    November 15, 2012, 9:00AM
    • Just give up league and go play there for 12 games a year for $1m per season. Who wouldn't?

      Commenter
      Franky
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 9:10AM
    • I guess there will always be comments regarding intelligence of league players.

      IMO Benji has a good head on his shoulders.

      Commenter
      league fan
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 9:20AM
    • Not always, but as long as the mungos do stupid things and represent themselves as stupid there will be. As long as The Footy Show is around too.

      Commenter
      MT
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 9:41AM
    • How can you tell a Union kid? He can only count up by 3.

      Commenter
      MediWarrior
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 9:44AM
    • Benji went to school on the gold coast - he likely learnt some japanese at school - go chase the money benj...

      Commenter
      grimotr
      Location
      inner west
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 9:57AM
    • MediWarrior - He is also the guy in the suit with a degree.

      Commenter
      matt
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 10:20AM
    • @Mediwarrior

      1. It's rugby, not union.
      2. Even if we could only count up by three, that can still get us past five.
      3. Thanks to rugby I can count up by two, five and seven as well.

      Commenter
      MT
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 10:26AM
    • @grimotr

      They have schools on the Gold Coast? No way!

      Commenter
      Rah Rah
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 10:27AM
    • agreed, you ra ra's have an endless counting ability coz you have 100,000 rules and an average 40 penalties per game! keep counting kick n clappers!

      Commenter
      kwel
      Date and time
      November 15, 2012, 11:11AM

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