Wests Tigers will mull over a release request from star playmaker Benji Marshall who wants out after 11 years at the NRL club.
The Tigers issued a statement on Monday night confirming the New Zealand international was seeking a release from the final two years of his contract.
Tigers chief operating officer Grant Mayer said he had received verbal notification of Marshall’s decision from his manager, Martin Tauber, and the club was now awaiting something more official before raising the issue with the board.
Mayer said he expected the issue to be “resolved relatively quickly”.
Marshall has had his issues with the club over the past two seasons, the 28 year-old a key figure in the demise of former coach Tim Sheens in 2012.
But his relationship with new coach Mick Potter doesn’t appear to be much smoother, Marshall at one stage this season dumped to the bench.
He has endured mixed form this year with the Tigers also struggling in 12th position on the NRL ladder.
A disappointed Mayer intimated that the club wouldn’t stand in his way of moving on.
“From a Wests Tigers perspective, we are extremely disappointed to receive the news as we believe that we have been exceptionally generous to a player that has given us wonderful service over a number of years,” Mayer said in a statement.
“Benji has obviously made a decision that he believes is right for himself and his family. All we can do is thank him wholeheartedly for what he has done for not only the club but the game as a whole.”
Marshall has said previously he would not play against the Tigers, seemingly ruling out a move to the likes of Parramatta or the Warriors.
A move to Super Rugby or rugby in Japan or France loom as potential options, as does playing in the Super League in the UK.
The loss of Marshall would be a savage blow for the Tigers, the marquee central to the club’s plans on and off the field.
He has played 193 matches for Wests Tigers and is the club’s all time leading points scorer.