Benji Marshall

Rabbitohs happy Marshall's move to Bulldogs fell over

Marshall, who was unwanted by Wests Tigers, believed he was close to finalising an agreement with Canterbury late last year but contact with the club ceased after the sudden departure of CEO Andrew Hill.

A desperate Marshall was forced to phone Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett seeking an opportunity and the Bulldogs are set to see first hand what they missed out on when the two clubs meet in their annual Good Friday clash at ANZ Stadium.

'Starstruck' Jarome Luai to play with 'boyhood idol' Benji Marshall for Māori All Stars

Luai was an eight-year-old on a family camping holiday when Marshall led Wests Tigers to the 2005 NRL grand final title.

“Our camping neighbours happened to have a little portable TV, so we watched the game on it,'' Luai, 24, told Australia's News Corp.

“I remember my mum got me a Tigers towel afterwards, and I used it after every shower for the next five years – I just didn’t want to let go of it.

Luai - who is Sydney born with Māori and Samoan heritage - is a NRL star in his own right, having helped the Panthers make the 2020 grand final.

Benji Marshall gets NRL lifeline

Marshall, who turns 36 next month, has played 324 NRL games and will become just the tenth player of the NRL era to play past his 36th birthday.

He'll be the oldest player in the competition should Cameron Smith not play on.

Marshall's career appeared to be over after he was released by Wests Tigers last year but he's been thrown a lifeline by Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett for a second time after Bennett revitalised Marshall's career at Brisbane on a cut-price deal in 2017.

Benji Marshall could link up with Wayne Bennett at South Sydney

Marshall turns 36 next month and has been holding out hope for one final year in the NRL after being cut loose by the Wests Tigers.

The popular playmaker spent time with Bennett with the New Zealand test team and then again with the Broncos in 2017.

While a deal is yet to be officially struck, there have been positive talks between Marshall and Souths.

Cronulla Sharks eye Benji Marshall as replacement for Shaun Johnson

The player market is finally heating up as teams prepare to return to pre-season, even though the NRL has yet to land on a salary-cap figure for next year.

A raft of signings are likely to be confirmed in coming days, including Parramatta’s purchase of Bryce Cartwright.

However, there are other trades being worked on in the background which could have significant implications for next season.

Tigers confirm Marshall won't be at club in 2021 as Benji plans to play on

It comes as several of the club’s players raised trust and communication issues with coach Michael Maguire during a crisis meeting on Monday, with concerns growing over the coach’s rapport with the playing group.

Marshall’s manager began calling rival NRL clubs on Monday night, offering the five-eighth’s services for next year following a two-hour meeting with Tigers officials during the afternoon.

Coach confident Benji Marshall will stay with Wests Tigers

Speculation swirled about Marshall's future on Monday when a Sydney Morning Herald column claimed Marshall's manager Matt Desira had sounded out other NRL clubs for a mid-season move for the 35-year-old playmaker.

Parramatta was suggested as a potential destination with the Eels losing influential half Mitchell Moses to a calf injury last weekend.

But Maguire, asked by NRL.com if Marshall had given any indication he wanted to leave, said: "None whatsoever.

Benji brilliant once more as Tigers topple Sharks

After trailing by six at half-time, Michael Maguire's men held the Sharks scoreless in the second stanza to collect their second victory in three rounds.

Cronulla were valiant given the distraction that Bronson Xerri's shock provisional suspension for failing an ASADA drugs test would have had in the lead-up to the match.

Veteran centre Josh Dugan stepped up in Xerri's place, scoring two tries in his return from a knee injury that had some questioning his future in the pre-season.

Marshall to captain Kiwis again

Marshall takes over the captaincy from the injured Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who will miss the upcoming Test campaign against Australia and Great Britain following knee surgery.

The halfback will captain the Kiwis in a record 20th Test as skipper in Friday night's Oceania Cup match against the Kangaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.

Marshall and the Kiwis will then return to New Zealand for matches against the Great Britain Lions in Auckland on November 2 and Christchurch on November 9.

Marshall and Foran remain in Kiwis squad

The veteran halves are in a 19-strong group announced by coach Michael Maguire, with regular five-eighth Kodi Nikorima having been ruled out of contention by the Warriors.

Maguire confirmed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will retain the captaincy, even though a shift to the wing or centres looms following the return to availability of star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who missed all of last year's five Tests.

Veteran hooker Issac Luke is in the group of eight players cut from the 27-man group unveiled midweek ahead of Saturday's clash in Auckland.