Farah says Benji is going nowhere
June 28, 2013 - 2:53PM
Darren Walton - SMH
Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has moved to allay fears that Benji Marshall may be on the move, insisting the NRL superstar isn’t going anywhere.
Not for at least two-and-a-half seasons anyway.
Marshall’s ongoing contract negotiations have become one of the league’s biggest sagas, with speculation even coming this week that the former Golden Boot winner could be switching codes to join the NSW Waratahs.
Farah, though, insists Marshall is staying put.
“It’s kind of been blown out of proportion a bit,” the NSW State of Origin star said on Friday.
"He’s still here for another two years. He’s not off contract at the end of the year.
"So regardless of what happens, Benji is here `til 2015 so it’s a long time away, and hopefully for a lot longer than that.
“But regardless of the contract situation - hopefully it gets sorted - but he’s here for another couple of years and hopefully we can have some success together.”
Farah and Marshall are the heart and soul of the Tigers, the fans’ twin favourites, and the skipper admitted he’d taken the champion playmaker aside to offer some friendly advice.
Teammate Chris Lawrence this week claimed the situation must be playing on Marshall’s mind as he looks to settle his future, but Farah said the Kiwi international was holding up strongly.
“He’s fine,” Farah said.
"I try not to, I guess, bug him too much about it. I don’t want to intrude into what’s going on.
"But as I said to Benji, that will all take care of itself and that is what his manager is there for.
"I went through it at the start of the year and my contract kind of dragged out over the summer.
"You get asked questions about it left, right and centre and I think the best thing to do in those situations, what I’ve learnt from experience, is just focus on footy.
“That’s all you can worry about and control. The rest will take care of itself.”
Marshall, who admits his form has been below his lofty standards in 2013, wants to remain a Tiger for life.
Farah hopes so too.
“I’ve played my whole career with Benji and I hope it continues to be that way,” he said.
Farah’s encouraging words and impending return for his first club game since round 11 are a huge boost for the second last-placed Tigers on the eve of their must-win hosting of Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval.
Lawrence admits the Tigers have already switched to finals football mode, saying they can’t afford to drop any more games if they wish to make the playoffs.
While coach Mick Potter on Friday was reluctant to look that far ahead, he challenged Marshall to raise his game against the reigning premiers, who will be without Queensland captain Cameron Smith, who is out with a facial injury, and Gareth Widdop, who has suffered a possible season ending dislocated hip.
“Benji is always key for the Wests Tigers,” Potter said.
"He’s been performing very well for us and he’s just got to maintain that form and maybe even get a little better if he can.
"He plays an integral part in the team and what we do. His kicking game and his ability to help the team around the park, him and Curtis (Sironen) I think do a real good job.
“And having Robbie back is only going to help.”