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2014-05-01 03:01:05 GMT
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Marshall not limiting NRL options to Tigers
Benji Marshall's manager has been quick to play down previous comments from the former Kiwi Test skipper that he would never play in the NRL for any other team than the Wests Tigers. Marshall has brought a premature end to his spell with Super Rugby?s Blues after an unsuccessful switch to the union game and has instructed his manager, Martin Tauber, to begin talks with clubs interested in taking the 29-year old back to the NRL.
Following his high profile switch to Auckland-based Blues at the beginning of the year, some saw it only as a matter of time before Marshall returned to the NRL with his tail between his legs. Those critics have been proven right following three-month period in which Marshall has failed to make much of an impression in the Blues starting line-up, making just six appearances. The Blues and New Zealand Rugby agreed to request from Marshall to be released early from his contract, opening the door for the playmaker to return to the NRL.
Despite making it clear last year that he would never play for any other NRL club than the Tigers, Marshall?s manager has now been forced to come out and distance his client from the comments he made before his departure for Super Rugby in which he said, "I will honour my words about not playing for another [NRL] club. There is no other NRL club for me to play for.?
Tauber admitted Marshall had perhaps made a mistake in making that statement, "That comment he made was probably made at the wrong time. It won't exist.?
While Cronulla have been linked as the front-runners for Marshall?s signature with bet365.com.au, Tauber insisted no talks had been held with any NRL clubs regarding the All Blacks star at this stage, saying "There has been speculation about Cronulla, I have never spoken to [Sharks officials] Steve Noyce or Darren Mooney or any of them. We have not spoken to anybody.?
Cronulla are one of a number of NRL clubs battling it out to sign one of the most naturally talented New Zealanders in recent years, with St George Illawarra, Parramatta, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Warriors are reportedly keen on being the club who brings Marshall back to the NRL. Rumours have surfaced that Marshall himself discussed a move to the Sharks with a number ex-Tigers players currently playing in Cronulla including Beau Ryan, with it looking unlikely that a move back to Wests will happen.
As well as Cronulla, Marshall is also reportedly open to a move to the Melbourne Storm where he would have the chance to work under head coach Craig Bellamy, not to mention joining a team that boasts the likes of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater. After losing Gareth Widdop to St George Illawarra, Melbourne have targeted Marshall as the man to replace the Englishman, and a move to Victoria could be an attractive one to the Kiwi at this stage of his illustrious career.
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