By John Chelsea
Wests Tigers pivot Benji Marshall looks to be playing russian roulette with his young career after rejecting approaches from the Tigers to resign for a fixed period.
After Wests coach Tim Sheens inked a deal with the Rugby League club until 2010; Sheens immediately set about locking Benji Marshall up with the Tigers for as long as possible. Following advice of Sheens; Tigers club officials attempted to negotiate a deal with Marshall’s manager Martin Tauber.
Tauber has rejected the Tigers advances stating that he has advised Benji Marshall at only 22 years of age and suffering recent injury and form lapses – that he again needs to prove himself on the Rugby League field for his own confidence and of course boosting his market worth.
With Marshall sidelined for long periods with shoulder problems and more recently being found out in defence on many occasions as the Tigers faltered in their late season charge for the finals – the stakes are extremely high.
If Benji Marshall reaches the end of 2008 and hasn’t performed on the NRL field or continues to experience injury woes and remains sidelined; he could seriously find himself signing a minute deal or worse still – forced into early retirement.
The gamble is a big one. But so often is the case, when Rugby League players have contracts on the line – they tend to avoid or play through injury and usually come up on top. It’s a simple, yet daunting equation for Marshall; perform or perish.