BENJI Marshall has lost his confidence, his Test captaincy and even the strength in his big toe, but the Wests Tigers playmaker still commands the utmost respect of his teammates.
Marshall, who will play his second game following a turf toe injury against Cronulla at Allianz Stadium on Friday, put his hand up this week and accepted much of the Tigers’ woes this season.
It was a stunning admission from the club’s highest-profile player, who is deep in negotiations with a view to signing a deal that would make the 28-year-old a Tiger for life.
Marshall is reportedly close to inking an upgrade of his current contract, which ends at the end of next season, which would keep him at the Tigers on a five-year deal worth $4 million.
The hefty price tag, and Marshall’s indifferent form, led to some sections of the rugby league world questioning whether the former New Zealand skipper is still deserving of such a contract.
“He’s worth every cent to us,” Tigers centre Chris Lawrence told AAP.
Marshall has been critical of his own form in 2013, but Lawrence said once he returns to the peak of his powers there won’t be a person in the game who thinks he isn’t worth the money.
“By his own admission he probably hasn’t had the greatest 12 months,” Lawrence said.
“But a lot of that is probably not just put on his shoulders but on the rest of the team as well.
“As a team we haven’t performed well in the last 12 months.
“At times he might have been trying to try too hard and forgetting what his role in the team is.
“I’m sure he’ll get back to his best form and when he does a lot of people will change their minds and be saying he’s worth every cent.”
Marshall’s likely re-signing follows on from skipper Robbie Farah committing long-term to the club, an indication Lawrence believes the Tigers are well set for the rest of their careers.
“Having Robbie sign basically for the rest of his career was a massive boost for us, knowing he’s going to retire a Tiger,” he said.
“But having that stability within the halves is just as important.
“In any club you need to know and have long-term plans for your halves, so to have Benji potentially re-sign would be great for the club.”