BENJI Marshall has revealed he is considering quitting the Broncos after being told he will have to play for $100,000 again to continue his NRL career at Brisbane.
Marshall has burst back to life under Wayne Bennett this season following three turbulent years at the Dragons.
The former Kiwi Test captain’s experience proved crucial for the Broncos throughout the State of Origin period and he has helped Brisbane maintain a spot in the top four.
The Broncos have discussed a one-year extension with Marshall, however there will be little increase in the near minimum-wage salary he has played on this season.
Marshall, 32, told The Sunday Mail his move to the Broncos had reinvigorated his career but admitted it may not be possible to keep playing with the money on offer.
“I think I want to keep playing. My body feels good enough to keep playing,” he said.
“I signed here for $100,000 which is probably $400,000 less than what it has been in the past.
“I’m not sure (if I’m prepared to do that again) to be honest. It’s been pretty tough. I’m not sure about that.
“Everyone has got bills. I will have to have a chat to my wife (Zoe) and decide financially where we want to be and what we want to achieve.
“I’ve got a family to feed at the end of the day. I know $100,000 is a lot of money but I’ve got a mortgage to pay as well.
“There are a lot of things to weigh up.”
Marshall has played eight games for the Broncos this season, providing cover in the halves while Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford were injured and also playing a utility role from the bench.
He spent the early part of the season playing for Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup which impacted on his ability to fulfil third-party commitments given he was out of the NRL.
Marshall is a supreme media talent and is understood to have options lined up for his post-football career if he decides to hang up the boots at the end of the year.
The Broncos have been on an $4.5 million retention drive this season, re-signing representative stars Milford, Corey Oates, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Alex Glenn and Kodi Nikorima.
Cronulla’s Jack Bird will arrive on a lucrative contract next season, and the club is on the verge of retaining Darius Boyd, Jordan Kahu and James Roberts, meaning Brisbane’s salary cap for 2018 will be at capacity.
The Broncos are prepared to wait for Marshall to make a decision, with the 263-game NRL veteran saying he would spend the next few weeks mulling over his future.
“I’ll have to have a few discussions in the near future,” he said.
“At the moment I’m enjoying the ride while I’m in the team and playing some good footy.
“I came to Brisbane for an opportunity and to prove a few things to myself and a few other people that I still have what it takes. I feel like I’ve exceeded some of those goals I made.
“Off the field it’s the happiest I’ve been for a long time. That takes priority sometimes.”
Marshall played 15 minutes off the bench in Brisbane’s 42-12 win over Canterbury last Thursday but is now fighting to keep his spot in the 17.
Captain Darius Boyd will return from a broken thumb against the Eels in Sydney on Friday night, leaving Marshall, Nikorima and Hunt vying for two spots in the team.
Nikorima was solid in his debut at fullback, and Marshall could be the one to make way for Boyd’s return.
“I said to Wayne before the (Bulldogs) game ‘don’t feel sorry for me on the bench. If there is a time to put me on then put me on, if not, don’t put me on’,” Marshall said.
“I’m a team person. I want what’s best for the team. If that means me playing the utility role off the bench or being 18th man, I’m not fazed. That’s up to the coach.
“There is definitely no qualms about that. Whatever Wayne wants to do and is best for the team I’ll be sweet with.
“That’s the beauty when you’ve got a bit of depth at the club — you can make those decisions. We’re in a pretty blessed position to have that.
“Whatever happens, happens. It’s not the end of the world if I’m not in the team. I will be there for the boys no matter what.”