Benji to remain a Tiger until 2011 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Benji to remain a Tiger until 2011

12/03/2009 07:57:11 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Test star Benji Marshall said he wants to become one of rugby league's great halfbacks after agreeing to a new two-year deal with the Wests Tigers.

Marshall ended the speculation over his future on Thursday by announcing he would remain a Tiger until the end of 2011.

The 24-year-old had been toying with the idea of playing rugby in Japan during the league off-season, but the NRL ruled he could not do so if he had an ongoing commitment with the Tigers.

As talks with Japanese clubs failed to eventuate, Marshall didn't hesitate in committing his future to the merger club.

"Money is one thing and changing scenery is another but the lifestyle I have here, the family, the friends, the support I have and the reputation I have here definitely played a big factor in me staying at the Wests Tigers," said Marshall.

"I also thought about my representative career for New Zealand and on the back of winning the World Cup, I thought maybe I'd like to improve on that a little bit longer.

"I am only 24 and when my contract expires in three years, I'll be 27 and maybe by that time, I might have a family and something else different to consider then.

"For now it is about me. I still have a lot left in what I want to do in the game.

"By changing to halfback, hopefully I will now become one of the best halfbacks in the game and build up a bigger and better career at the Wests Tigers.

"Hopefully I will have a big year this season as I have had my time on the sidelines. Hopefully this is a new start for me."

Marshall's commitment is another boost to the Tigers after the club secured hooker and captain Robbie Farah, plus forwards Chris Heighington and Todd Payten on long term deals.

Tigers chief executive Scott Longmuir praised Marshall for showing commitment to the club even while he looked at his options overseas.

"There was plenty of speculation about what Benji was going to do in the future," he said.

"Whilst all that was going on, Benji never backed away saying he loves the Wests Tigers and wants to play for the Wests Tigers in the long term."

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