Wests Tigers have today recognised Life Member Benji Marshall, who will play his 300th NRL game against the Parramatta Eels.
Marshall will become the 38th player in Premiership history to reach the milestone when Wests Tigers face the Eels at Bankwest Stadium in Round 17 and the first player to reach the milestone while wearing Wests Tigers colours.
The 34-year-old is also just the fifth player to register 300 NRL games having played for Wests Tigers during their career, joining John Morris and Adam Blair as well as Scott Prince and Chris Heighington, who were part of the club’s 2005 Premiership-winning side alongside Marshall.
A product of Keebra Park High School, Marshall would make his first-grade debut for Wests Tigers in 2003 — coming off the bench to steer Wests Tigers to a 52-12 win over the Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Inducted as an inaugural Life Member of the club in 2013, Marshall would play 203 games in total for Wests Tigers before switching to rugby union in 2014. Coming back to the NRL via St. George-Illawarra later that year, Marshall would play 54 games for the Dragons before signing with Brisbane in 2017.
After playing 13 games for the Broncos, the Kiwi international would return home to Wests Tigers in 2018 and has played 31 games for the club since.
Wests Tigers Chair Barry O’Farrell paid credit to Marshall’s service the club.
“As one of the game’s most recognisable and likeable players, Benji has been a terrific ambassador for Wests Tigers and rugby league as a whole,” O’Farrell said.
“He brings a special brand of enthusiasm and can change the course of a game in a moment, and his longevity in doing for that for this club deserves to be recognised.
“But perhaps more than that, Wests Tigers have benefited tremendously from Benji’s leadership skills — both formally as a captain or as someone providing advice and support to his teammates.
Benji: A long walk to 300
“Benji, his family and his friends deserve to take great satisfaction from reaching the 300-game milestone, and it is a privilege to be able to celebrate with him today alongside the players, coaches and administrators who had the great fortunate to know, play and work with him throughout his career.”
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe praised Marshall’s leadership, saying that the 34-year-old epitomises the core values the club stands for.
“It is a terrific honour to celebrate today’s milestone with Benji,” Pascoe said.
“Since the day I met him, Benji has demonstrated an unquestioned passion for this club and leadership that continues to inspire generations to greater things.
“He is not only a true hero amongst kids but amongst rugby league fans alike, and he continues to model determination by pushing himself to improve every day.
“Benji is Wests Tigers and we’re extremely proud to celebrate him today.”
Wests Tigers Head Coach Michael Maguire — who also coached Marshall as part of the New Zealand national side — highlighted Benji’s positive influence on the playing group.
“Benji is a player who has been so influential to this club,” Maguire said.
“From when he first started back in 2003 to the premiership to coming back, his influence has never diminished.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Benji and you can see how grateful he is for the opportunities he’s got at the moment.
Benji Marshall's Top 13
“As a player, you learn a lot throughout your career, and he’s been able to show that to the younger players in our squad. His leadership continues to impress me in that way as he not only demonstrates to others but applies the lessons that he’s learned throughout his career to himself.
“Today is a big day for the club and a big day for Benji and it’s certainly going to be a special one for all of us.”
Marshall will be formally recognised by the National Rugby League and Wests Tigers with a special presentation on-field after this afternoon’s game.
Match: Wests Tigers v Eels
Round 17 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney