Rumours abound over rugby switch for Benji

GLENN JACKSON
Last updated 08:28 21/06/2013
Benji Marshall
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BENJI FOR 'TAHS?: Benji Marshall's future at Wests Tigers is likely to come to a head imminently following talks yesterday.

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Benji Marshall's future at Wests Tigers is likely to come to a head imminently following talks between the club and the player's management on Thursday.

Wests Tigers' new chief operating officer Grant Mayer held talks with Marshall's manager, Martin Tauber, over an upgrade of the five-eighth's contract, as speculation emerged about a switch to rugby union.

Marshall's existing deal expires at the end of 2015, but has a clause in it allowing for a renegotiation following any increase in the salary cap.

His future at the club has been clouded following his benching in round 15 by coach Mick Potter.

''Benji Marshall is a priority for the club and we'd like to get some clarity around the position,'' said Mayer, who is running the Tigers on an interim basis after the departure of chief executive Stephen Humphreys.

''A meeting was held and we had some clarity. More discussions are coming.''

Humphreys and Tauber had been negotiating for months over an upgrade of Marshall's present deal, as well as a possible extension.

Those talks were put on hold as the Tigers' form dipped, but they were reignited on Thursday.

It appears now that negotiations will only continue around an upgrade of his present deal, rather than the five-year extended deal Marshall had originally sought.

Mayer is expected to hold further discussions with the Tigers' football retention committee in coming days, with a view to putting a revised deal to Tauber.

It's expected that the Tigers, and indeed Marshall, will have more clarity over his future in the next week.

While the Tigers believe they owe Marshall the respect of offering him an upgrade of his present contract, it has become clear the 28-year-old will not attract the sort of deal he had hoped for several months ago.

Coincidentally, there was some speculation on Thursday linking Marshall with a move to Super Rugby franchise, the Waratahs.

''The meeting was very fruitful,'' Tauber said. ''We're just waiting on a revised contract. We've been in discussions for some months now but the meeting was very positive.

''Above all else, we just want Benji to regain his mojo.''

While Marshall showed glimpses of the form he is capable of against Penrith in round 13, his performance against Brisbane on Monday night was heavily criticised.

The Tigers play Canberra at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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