Benji: I was not good enough
Rugby League convert Benji Marshall has admitted he was only an "average" Rugby Union player, but insists he has no regrets about his brief foray into the 15-man code.
Marshall split from Super Rugby outfit the Blues, after barely two months playing Rugby Union – with the 29-year-old conceding his move from League had been a failure.
"My lack of the technical aspects of Rugby Union was what was letting me down and I felt like I was playing Rugby League on the field with 14 other players,'' he told Fairfax Media.
"But I definitely don't regret it because I have got everything I wanted to get out of it except the performance on the field – which just hasn't worked out the way I wanted it to – and I am just an average rugby player."
Marshall, who helped guide Wests Tigers to the 2005 National Rugby League premiership, announced his switch to Rugby Union in a blaze of publicity late last year, saying he wanted to make the All Blacks.
But the New Zealand-born playmaker never looked comfortable and played only 212 minutes, which included just one start at fullback, this season.
He played three pre-season matches at flyhalf and each was a dismal failure, which resulted in him struggling to secure a regular place in the Blues' matchday squad.
A return to the NRL appears his most likely option, although the only New Zealand-based team in the competition, the Warriors, said they were not interested in signing him.
Marshall pledged when he left Wests that he would never play against them in the NRL, although his manager Martin Tauber played down the commitment following the split with the Blues.
"That comment he made was probably made at the wrong time. It won't exist," Tauber told the Daily Telegraph, which reported that the Tigers had ruled out taking Marshall back.
Marshall said he had learnt a lot in the eight months since he left Wests Tigers and was keen to bring that knowledge to the NRL again.
"I had a crack at it and it just didn't work out, but honestly I haven't been this happy for a long time and I feel like I am a better person for being here."
The rule changes introduced in the NRL this season to speed up the game are likely to suit Marshall, who became disillusioned and decided to change codes after a dispute over a new five-year contract he believed the club had agreed to.
Cronulla, St George Illawarra, Parramatta, South Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have all been listed as clubs that might be interested in Marshall.
Marshall felt he could play a number of positions in the NRL.
"It might take a few weeks to get a feel for it again but in my head I understand the game properly which is probably the most important thing."
Marshall had a meeting with Kirwan on the weekend in which it was suggested he either play the rest of the season in the lower tiers to help prepare him for the 2015 Super Rugby competition or return to Rugby League.
"The decision was not about being frustrated about game time, I love it here. I have probably got a couple of years left in me realistically and I want those to be enjoyable and competitive and at the highest level. I don't really want to go back to club level and have to start again in rugby."
Source: Fairfax NZ News