Benji Marshall back 'home' at Tigers

Nov 28, 2017 - 4:24 AM Benji Marshall has brushed off retirement talk as he revealed he was twice knocked back by the Wests Tigers before being granted a fairytale return for the 2018 NRL season.

Four years since his unceremonious exit from Concord, the veteran playmaker's career has come full circle and the 32-year-old has begun his pre-season preparation with the Tigers.

There are few more players closely associated with the joint venture and he said he felt like he was "home" as soon as he walked back in the door.

The 2005 premiership tattoo on his left bicep is proof that his love never wavered, even after requesting a release to rugby union in 2013 after club management backtracked on a previously agreed upon contract upgrade.

Marshall said that he twice attempted to return to the Tigers - following his stint with the Auckland Blues in 2014 and after his two-and-a-half season tenure at St George Illawarra in 2016 - but was declined.

"Half the reason that I rang Ivan to come back was because I've always had the feeling I wanted to come back, I've just never had the opportunity," Marshall said.

"When I came back from union, I tried to come back and they shut that down pretty quick. I tried again after the Dragons and it got shut down again.

"When I was thinking about what I was going to do after the Broncos I thought 'you know what, I'm just going to ring (coach) Ivan (Cleary) and just try to make it happen'. It wasn't a real possibility until I made that call."

Marshall has been given few guarantees by Cleary and shapes as a likely bench utility, a position he filled at the Broncos.

"The role that I played at Brisbane - the goal was to be in the top 17," he said.

"I got to reach that, especially towards the back end of the year last year. I thought I contributed a lot."

Asked if he was considering retirement at the conclusion of his one-year contract with the Tigers, Marshall said he hadn't contemplated it.

"I don't know mate. I haven't really thought about it to be honest," Marshall said.

Source: AAP

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