Benji Marshall has set his sights on becoming just the second ever New Zealand-born player to play 300 NRL games, but concedes there’s a good chance it won’t be at St George Illawarra.
The Dragons five-eighth admits a persistent hamstring injury that has limited him to just six games this year has stalled negotiations on where his playing future lies once his contract expires in November.
“I can understand why nothing’s been resolved, because I haven’t played enough games this year to stamp my case. Until I get a few games under my belt, I’m not that worried,” Marshall said on Monday.
“At the end of the day, I’d love to stay here and I want to stay here. But I’m also a realist and understand that there’s a good chance that might not happen.
“I’m confident I’m going to have a contract somewhere, I just don’t know where.”
With 245 games already under his belt, the 31-year-old Marshall is also certain his ageing body can last at least two more seasons in a bid to become just the 25th player to hit 300 NRL games.
The only other Kiwi to achieve the feat was Ruben Wiki, in 2008.
“I was always confident of being back next year. The hamstring is one of the least (worrying) injuries I’ve had over my career,” Marshall said.
“I’m playing 250 games soon, so that’ll be a nice one to achieve this year. I think probably for a longer term focus, hopefully play 300.”
On where that might be, Marshall still isn’t sure.
“Nothing’s changed since the last time I talked about it,” he said.
“I’ve left that up to my management to take care of. I just want to look forward to playing because I haven’t played enough games this year.”
Also the most capped Kiwis captain, Marshall revealed he still harboured desires of representing his native New Zealand in the Four Nations tournament at the end of the year.
Marshall hasn’t pulled on the black-and-white jumper since 2012.
“As long as I’m playing first grade, I’m going to make myself available,” he said.
“I’m a realist in knowing that Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran are two of the best halves going around the comp. That opportunity might not come, but I’m available if need be.”