Bronco Benji: the perfect solution
Benji Marshall in action. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay
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The Wests Tigers have been in negotiations with their playmaker, Benji Marshall and his management team regarding a new improved deal since the beginning of the season.
With no end in sight any time soon, it has made me wonder whether the ex-New Zealand captain may look elsewhere to further his career.
Marshall has two years remaining on his current contract, worth around $350,000 a season.
The reason why the club and the player’s management team are discussing are new deal at this moment in time is due to a clause in Marshall’s contract.
The clause was down to the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) finally finalising a new television rights deal in August last year, and whether they would extend the salary cap for all 16 clubs in the NRL.
So when news came about just before the start of the 2013 NRL competition, that the salary cap would be increased from $4.4 million from the previous season to just under $6 million, this opened up the clause.
This was put in place, to allow Marshall to re-negotiate his current deal, and allow him the opportunity to get paid his fair share of the new salary cap.
Six months have gone, and still the Tigers and their New Zealand International have failed to come to an agreement.
And you cannot blame the Wests Tigers in being hesitant in agreeing to the supposedly $800,000 a season that Marshall is asking for, with his form this season not warranting anywhere near that amount of cash.
The Sydney based club is second last on the ladder, and due to a terrible injury toll, the Tigers have a genuine excuse for being that far down the ladder.
In saying that, the individual performances of Benji Marshall throughout this season have been woeful to say the least.
He only has four line break assists so far this year, and when you compare it to last season, the creative playmaker already had 21 to his name.
Clearly something is not right.
The Kiwi superstar was sensationally dropped to the bench back in Round 10 this season against the Rabbitohs.
This led to rumours circulating that Marshall was not happy with new Tigers coach, Mick Potter. In particular, Potter’s tactics of a more structured game plan than the free flowing football which the New Zealander loves to play.
So maybe it is time for a change for Marshall, where in recent times he has been linked to rugby union, in particularly to the NSW Waratahs.
Nonetheless, I believe it would be a huge shame if rugby league lost a player with the talents of the Kiwi International to another code.
So the best destination in my mind for Benji Marshall to revitalise his league career, would be to join up with the Brisbane Broncos.
Currently, the Queensland club are also performing below par compared to the lofty heights they set for themselves each year, placed just outside the top eight in 11th position.
What the Broncos are missing this season and have been since the retirement of league legend, Darren Lockyer in 2011, is a creative playmaker.
Benji Marshall fits the bill perfectly in a player who could ignite the creative spark missing for the Brisbane club, and possibly help push for a premiership in the next year or so.
It would allow the playmaker the opportunity to be in same team with representative players, of the likes of Thaiday, Hannant and Parker in the forwards laying the platform for Benji to do his magic.
They would give him the time and space he is not getting at the Tigers to perform at his very best once again.
As well as, giving him the prospect of playing alongside Scott Prince again in the halves, who were devastating together back in 2005, when they helped the Tigers win the Premiership.
Furthermore, he would be adored by the Broncos faithful who love to support a quality playmaker, and they have had some crackers over the years.
Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Kevin Walters and the previously mentioned, Lockyer all comes to mind, and Marshall at his best again could join this illustrious group.
Benji Marshall joining the Brisbane Broncos in 2014 and donning on the famous number six jersey, could be exactly what the New Zealander needs to get back to his devastating best.
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