Marshall seeks rugby league return
Published 21/04/2014 | 11:27
Former New Zealand captain Benji Marshall is seeking a return to rugby league after struggling to adapt to his switch of codes.
The former Kiwis stand-off has failed to make an impression with limited opportunities for the Auckland-based Super Rugby Blues since his move from the NRL's Wests Tigers.
The Blues confirmed on Monday they received a request from Marshall for an early release.
A statement said: "The Blues and NZ Rugby can confirm they have received a request from Benji Marshall to be released early from his contract.
"All parties are currently in discussions regarding this request and need to work through a formal process before making any further comment."
Salford's ambitious owner Marwan Koukash has spoken of his desire to bring Marshall to Super League but the Red Devils currently have no room on the salary cap and t he 29-year-old Marshall has made it clear that he wants to return to the NRL and has instructed his manager Martin Tauber to begin talks with potential suitors.
Wests Tigers have ruled out making a play for their former star, who is likely to sign a modest contract on the back of a pay-out from the NZRU, and Cronulla, St George Illawarra, Parramatta, Melbourne and Brisbane have been mentioned as possible destinations.
"We're as surprised as anyone that he's made a decision to leave," Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer said.
"He said when he left us that he was looking forward to the challenge but obviously things have changed.
"There's always interest in good players but decisions were made last year and the salary cap is a different thing to manage.
"He made the call and we've invested in our young kids and that decision has been very good for us so far.
"He's a good quality player with talent so I'm sure there will be clubs looking for him.
"Whether it be in the NRL or Super League, I'm sure there will be a job for him."
A mercurial playmaker, Marshall played 11 seasons and 201 matches for the Tigers since joining them as a schoolboy in 2003 and won a Premiership there in 2005.
Marshall, who was a member of the Kiwis team that won the World Cup in 2008, left the NRL at the end of last season, saying he had achieved all he could in the game and was keen for a new challenge.
He talked of playing for the All Blacks but that dream is now over.