State of Origin coaches Laurie Daley and Kevin Walters believe it’s probably time for Benji Marshall to move on from St George Illawarra.
Marshall’s future at the Dragons beyond 2016 has been one of the sagas of the NRL season.
But it appears the issue is about to come to a head following the one-time world player of the year’s verbal showdown with coach Paul McGregor this week.
Marshall admits the pair “had a healthy debate” after McGregor was critical of the playmaker’s performance during a team review of the Dragons’ 12-8 loss to Brisbane last Friday night.
“The reason I went to his office was because I was worried about maybe having to play reserve grade, to talk about the reserve grade conversation and he reassured me that he wasn’t going to do that to me,” Marshall told Fox Sports’ NRL 360 program.
But despite being guaranteed he won’t receive the Robbie Farah treatment and be axed from the side like his former Wests Tigers teammate, Marshall’s career at the Dragons appears over at season’s end.
Daley and Walters agree it’s probably best for the former New Zealand Test captain and Tigers premiership winner to try his luck elsewhere.
“I don’t know Benji personally but to me he seems like he’s got a lot to offer,” Walters told NRL 360.
“It hasn’t worked out with him down at the Dragons. Maybe (because of) the combination with him and Gareth Widdop for whatever reasons, I’m not sure.
“I think there’s still some value in Benji somewhere at some of the clubs because he’s got so much experience as a player.
“But clearly it’s not working out down there for him.”
Daley agrees and says Marshall – who turned down a $300,000 a season offer from the Dragons earlier in the year – may have to hope another club comes to the party to extend his NRL career post 2016.
“There’s a lot of things you’ve got to take into consideration,” Daley said.
“Obviously the style of football that you want to play, whether he’d fit into that structure.
“Cost: he’s 31 years of age, what you’re prepared to pay and what you’re you’re prepared to risk – the risk reward.
“And what you think he may be able to bring to your club in a leadership role.
“I still think Benji’s got something to offer but, at the moment, it’s not working out at the Dragons.”