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Defiant Marshall wanted to please Blues

Benji Marshall wants to add to his rugby league legacy, but admits his desire to appease his new employers motivated his appearance in an Auckland Blues jersey.
Defiant Marshall wanted to please Blues
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Aug 13 AAP - Benji Marshall wants to add to his rugby league legacy, but admits his desire to appease his new employers motivated his appearance in an Auckland Blues jersey.

Wests Tigers star Marshall was unapologetic on Tuesday after appearing in a video message donned in a Blues jumper to announce his impending code switch.

With four games left in the NRL season - including a possible 200th game in the black, white and gold - and with Marshall still harbouring hopes of playing for New Zealand in the rugby league World Cup, the announcement hit a raw nerve in league circles.

Twice asked if he regretted the way his new deal was conveyed, Marshall switched the onus to his future bosses.

"What's been done has been done," Marshall said.

"At the end of the day that's where my job's going to lie next year, they wanted to put that out and release that.

"That's over as far as I'm concerned."

The announcement, described by coach Michael Potter as being in "bad taste" threatened to further damage a legacy already tarnished by a messy contractual dispute which hastened his departure from the Tigers.

Despite rumours of a rift with Potter, Marshall was adamant he would retain his place in the Tigers side long enough to play his 200th top grade game against South Sydney in round 25.

"I am confident. I've been having a good chat about it and if that's the way it goes that I don't see it, then 200 games is just a stat," Marshall said.

"I don't play the game for rugby league stats, I play the game to do my best for my teammates and because I love playing the game with the boys."

According to Marshall, his relationship with Potter won't affect his chances of reaching the milestone, despite the coach claiming on Sydney radio on Monday that his five-eighth knew better for his video message to be deemed an act of naivety.

Marshall somehow denied Potter had been critical of his actions.

"He actually didn't rip me out, he called me last night to tell me it was quite the opposite," Marshall said of what transpired with Potter.

"The relationship between myself and the coach is great, we get along great, no dramas there."

While the Tigers remain his immediate focus now that his future has been sorted out, Marshall admits he would be keen to bow out of the game at the World Cup at the end of the year.

He is yet to speak with either the New Zealand Rugby League or the Blues about his desire to play in the tournament.

"It's something that I've always done proudly throughout my career is represent New Zealand," Marshall said.

"One of my proudest moments of my life was being captain in New Zealand."




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