Benji Marshall is expected to wait four weeks before deciding his future at Wests Tigers beyond this season.
The 34-year-old has been one of the Tigers’ best this campaign and, despite being out of contract at the end of the season, is considering extending his career into 2020.
His New Zealand halves partner, Shaun Johnson, certainly believes Marshall has more to offer.
“He’s seeing the game better than he’s ever seen it,” Johnson said. “I’m not too sure where his head is at. He doesn’t need the steps and sprints like he used to. But his knowledge and the way he sees the game, it’s on another level.”
Marshall wants to approach every game like it’s his last, which worked for him last year.
Good mate Robbie Farah is also undecided about 2020 but has indicated he is leaning towards retirement.
Speaking after the win against South Sydney on Thursday night, Marshall said the arrival of coach Michael Maguire had breathed new life into his career. Maguire was also the man who ended his Kiwis exile last weekend.
"I’m loving playing under him,’’ Marshall said. "Honestly, he’s given me a clear focus on what my role is and really pushed me in the pre-season to a new level, not only with my fitness but with my leadership.
"I feel like he’s brought out the best in both – performance and leadership – and that’s what’s contributing to me playing a different style to what people expect me to play.
"I think when you get older you need that [hard work], and when you look for short cuts and excuses, it’s time to hang up the boots. I’m playing at 89 kilograms. There were a few years there I played at 95 kilograms. It’s a big difference. I’m feeling good.
"At the moment, it’s my last year. That’s my mindset. But I haven’t ruled out playing next year.
“The thing I don’t want to do is make a decision with so many rounds of footy left.”
Tigers fans will know the positives far outweigh the negatives if Marshall pushes on to what would be his 18th season in the top grade. He is great for camaraderie, calms the younger players and still possesses one of the best kicking games in the NRL. He also remains the biggest drawcard with sponsors, is a natural media talent and also seen by some as a future coach.
The only negative would be making life tough for the likes of Josh Reynolds to return to the starting line-up. But that’s a problem for Maguire, not Marshall.
"It’s not like I’m playing for big money and there will be no big salary-cap contribution that will put the club out; that’s not the drama,’’ Marshall said.
“It’s more about my mind and body and where that’s at at the end of the season. With five weeks to go I might say ‘that’s it’.”
Marshall plays NRL game No.299 against the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.