Marshall backtracking on Tigers comment

Benji Marshall played 10 seasons for the West Tigers. Photo / Getty Images
Benji Marshall played 10 seasons for the West Tigers. Photo / Getty Images

Benji Marshall's manager is reportedly distancing himself from the playmaker's previous comments that he would never play in the NRL against the Wests Tigers.

The former Kiwi test skipper has failed to make an impression in limited opportunities for the Blues during eight Super Rugby games since his move from the Tigers at the end of last season.

The Blues and New Zealand Rugby confirmed late on Monday they had received a request from Marshall over the weekend to be released early from his contract.

Marshall has instructed his manager Martin Tauber to open talks with NRL clubs, despite saying when he left the Tigers that he would never play against the joint venture club which he memorably led to an unexpected premiership in 2005.

"That comment he made was probably made at the wrong time. It won't exist," Tauber told News Corp Australia on Tuesday.

Tauber also said that he has not yet opened talks with any other NRL club.

"There has been speculation about Cronulla, I have never spoken to (Sharks officials) Steve Noyce or Darren Mooney or any of them," Tauber said.

"We have not spoken to anybody. This all only took place yesterday morning and we weren't anticipating or planning anything."

Cronulla, St George Illawarra, Parramatta, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Warriors are all being linked to him.

News Corp reports that Marshall himself has reached out to ex-Tigers players who are now playing at Cronulla, including Beau Ryan.

His departure from the Blues comes less than a year after Marshall pledged he would never play against the Tigers.

"I will honour my words about not playing for another (NRL) club," he said in July last year, announcing his intention to leave the code.

"There is no other NRL club for me to play for. The Tigers are my home and will always be my home.

"I have seen guys like Mark O'Neill leave, go to England and then come back to the club.

"I am hoping to do the same in some capacity after I retire."

-AAP

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