No immediate release for Benji, says coach
Wests Tigers coach Michael Potter says there's no chance disgruntled star Benji Marshall will be released immediately by the NRL club.
Marshall has sought a release from the final two years of his contract with an eye to a code switch to rugby union. The former Kiwi skipper is feeling let down after having a handshake agreement on a new contract which failed to materialise.
Tigers' great Benny Elias claimed the club should let Marshall go immediately if the playmaker's heart was no longer in it, but Potter said Marshall would definitely see out the season.
"That's fine for Benny to say that. He's [Marshall] a part of the team and, even if he wanted to go and that scenario was facilitated and threw his hands in the air and wanted to go, I don't think that's going to happen," Potter said.
"I don't think Benji's like that. He loves the club and he wants to do the right thing for the club."
"I don't want to give any weight to what Benny said because it's not going to happen."
Potter named Marshall to play against the Warriors at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night, and is confident he would receive a warm reception from fans despite his desire to leave the club.
Marshall has stated he will not play for any other NRL club, which Potter says highlights his bond with the Tigers.
"I think the fans will appreciate who he is and what he's done for Wests Tigers and hopefully cheer him on," Potter said.
Potter was not certain whether NSW Origin representatives Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods would back up from Wednesday's night series decider, with Woods having been struck down by an illness.
In another development, Marshall's management reportedly contacted Super Rugby franchise the Melbourne Rebels six weeks ago to gauge their interest in him.
According to News Limited, the Rebels insist the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) must make the first move before they can consider signing Marshall.
The 28-year-old has already been been linked to the NSW Waratahs and New Zealand outfit the Blues.
Rebels chief executive Rob Clarke has told the Herald Sun that the ARU has always taken the lead in the first instance in such situations.
"... Just like other big name league players in the past ... it appears that that's where the discussion is at at the moment.
"I've obviously said that, depending on the outcome of those discussions, then the Rebels would be open-minded but, really, that's all that's been done at this point in time."
However, Clarke cautioned that with Marshall, the Rebels would not rush into anything.