Benji Marshall has insisted he won’t be leaving the Tigers and is keen to fight his way back into the club’s top 17.
Despite assurances from his coach and a former teammate that the veteran isn’t looking elsewhere, persistent reports have linked the Kiwi away from Concord this week.
Marshall hasn’t played since round four, losing his place in Michael Maguire’s side to Josh Reynolds.
Several reports have linked the 35-year-old with a move away from the Tigers under the assumption he is unhappy with his treatment.
Though, speaking on NRL360, Marshall insisted he has been and will continue to do everything he can to win his place back.
“I actually can’t believe we’re talking about this to be honest,” Marshall said.
“Not once have I said I wanted to leave or indicated I wasn’t happy.
“The fact of the matter is I got dropped for not playing well enough.
“Anyone knows me knows I’m going to fight to get back in the team, and mark my words, I’ll be back there before the end of the year.”
Maguire has been opting for four forwards on the bench, meaning Marshall will need win back a spot in the starting 13, wait for an injury or suspension or for the coach to change his squad makeup.
“I can’t control what happens with the team and what happens with the halves in our team, but I’m pretty much in a position where I have to wait until players play bad or get injured until I can play, or the coach decides to play three forwards on the bench,” he said.
“I feel like I can still have an impact on the team’s performance without playing, from what I do during the week.
“I’ll push the coach every week to make sure he notices the things I’m doing to be back in the team.”
And it’s not just Marshall saying that, with Maguire also praising the playmaker’s influence on the group.
“We talk a lot about where the club is going and he is very much a part of that,” Maguire said on Monday.
“He is a leader and an experienced player who can have a massive influence on or off the field.”
When asked whether there had been talk of Marshall leaving: “None whatsoever,” he added.
Former teammate Robbie Farah has also joined the chorus of support for Marshall, declaring
“No, it’s a load of rubbish to be honest,” Farah told his co-hosts on NRL Teams.
“Benji is still a massive part of the Tigers, he has a massive influence off the field. In the leadership role – I’ve seen it first hand – how well respected he is among the playing group and how well he leads, day in and day out at training.
“Even though he’s not playing, I know Madge would want Benji around that group. He’s got a massive role to play.
“Benji left the Tigers once before and it just didn’t feel right. I want to see him finish his career at the Tigers. Him going elsewhere to finish his career is just not going to sit right with me. It’s not going to sit right with him.
“Things can change in rugby league. All it takes is one injury and he’s back in.”