Ladder finish a big factor in Benji’s future after 300th
Sun 14 Jul 2019, 08:20 PM
Milestone man Benji Marshall won’t be rushed into a decision on his future after a bittersweet finish to his 300th NRL appearance at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday.
Marshall said he would give all the celebrations back if it meant the Wests Tigers could reverse their 30-18 loss to the Eels as the club’s finals aspirations took a big hit leading into next week’s clash with Canberra.
The veteran playmaker tried his best to spark the side after they trailed 16-4 at the break but costly errors, three missed conversions and a bombed four-pointer in the second half helped the Eels go on with a 12-point victory.
“It was a special day but to be honest I would’ve rather got the result,” Marshall said.
"It’s hard to be excited or celebrate because I want to win and make the finals. I hate losing, I would rather that be a win with where we’re sitting on the table, no doubt. And our group does try but there’s a lot of things we need to work on.
“As a leader part of my job is to do that and that didn’t happen. Simple errors cost us a lot and we were chasing the game.”
An emotional Marshall was greeted by a strong core of family and friends after a jersey presentation on-field to celebrate his achievements, which included a traditional haka as a mark of respect.
Family blast out emotional Haka for Marshall
“I’m lucky I’ve got a really strong family that taught me a lot of those values when I was younger – discipline, resilience and never giving up,” Marshall said.
"I’m really lucky with the support, to play rugby league for a job, that’s where I just pinch myself.
“I’ve got a lot of gratitude. You’ve got to appreciate and enjoy the moments.”
Marshall’s future is expected to be further questioned with eight weeks of the regular season remaining.
He said he’s physically in a great shape to play on and has the backing of Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire to do so.
“I just don’t want to get caught up about worrying about next year because now is important to me,” Marshall said.
"If I’m focusing ahead too far I don’t know if that will get the best out of me. I feel great and we’ve got a great medical staff that I feel like I could do it.
“But I’m not alone in this decision. A lot of things go into it. That’s another discussion that will happen in the next month or so but there’s no time frame for me.”
The Tigers were level with the Eels on tries scored in Sunday’s clash but goal-kicking proved the difference with Esan Marsters and Moses Mbye combining for just one goal from four attempts.
Marshall addresses Bankwest Stadium after his 300th match
Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses produced a clean day with the boot, including three shots at penalty goal.
“We need to have a good look at ourselves,” Maguire said. "We’ve got to make sure we get our goal-kicking right but I can say there is a lot of work being done in that area.
“It’s just one of those things we need to look at, simple as that. I’ve seen the group change as I’ve gone throughout the season. We’re aware of where we sit on the ladder.”