Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Benji Marshall played over 300 NRL games for the Tigers, Dragons and Broncos and decided to call it a day at the end of season 2021 after an illustrious career that saw him win a premiership and Rugby League World Cup, along with many individual honours including the Golden Boot award, Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year and RLIF Five-Eighth of the Year twice.
There was speculation the 36-year-old would play on for one more year, possibly so he could represent New Zealand at the postponed Rugby League World Cup.
Marshall has revealed in an interview with The Courier Mail’s Peter Badel that this was nearly a reality as he fielded an offer from an NRL club to play on in 2022.
“The Titans actually tried to sign me at the end of last year,” revealed Marshall.
“We had some chats but, to be honest, it was time to retire.
“I gave it some thought — but you have to know when it’s time to go,”
NRL great Benji Marshall had a concrete offer to extend his career into 2022 – @badel_cmail
reveals why he knocked back a swan song with a premiership hopeful.https://t.co/TI4LKbDVeX
— Courier Mail Sport (@cmail_sport) February 20, 2022
The Fox Sports pundit then went on to explain just how mentally taxing playing in the NRL can be.
“You would be surprised at the mental toll of playing NRL.
“People don’t see what goes into turning up every day in pre-season, week in, week out feeling that pressure to perform and the times you try to pretend you’re not injured when you are.
“Your brain goes into overdrive and covers for you and protects you, but as soon as I retired and I woke up one day thinking I don’t have to train today, I felt this weight lift off my shoulders.”
Marshall certainly is glad he decided to hang up the boots when he did.
The Titans won’t be too upset with Marshall’s decision either, as they now have the opportunity to fully invest in prospects Jayden Campbell at fullback and Toby Sexton at five-eighth.
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