Memo to Benji Marshall: We welcome you back with open arms to rugby league.
Whether you love him or hate him Benji Marshall at his very best was something special.
True, his last two years at the Wests Tigers before he left of his own accord and joined the Auckland Blues in rugby union, weren’t his best, but that happens in footy at times.
I am not saying Marshall will ever rekindle his golden years between 2005 and 2011, but league can only benefit having him back.
But who is to say that Benji won’t return to decent form given another crack. Debate and opinion varies about whether Marshall can cut the mustard again in the NRL.
I reckon Cronulla is a perfect fit. Not because a lot of his former Tigers teammates are there, but the struggling Sharks will benefit in more ways than one.
Former Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce is now the boss at the Sharks and has a strong affinity with Marshall. He would help ease him into the new environment.
Cronulla has been battered from pillar to post on and off the field in recent years and signing Marshall would be a great lift in the club’s profile and attract potential new sponsors and members. The Sharks haven’t got a major sponsor.
Marshall would generate huge publicity, and a new sponsor could strike while the iron is hot if he joins.
In round 10 the Wests Tigers are scheduled to play Cronulla at Remondis Stadium. What better stage than for Marshall if he signs with the Sharks in the next few days, would have two weeks training and to settle into his new club.
A week in NSW Cup and a week off the interchange bench in the NRL would allow him to get his timing right and speed of the game.
The new rules, with less wrestling in the play-the-ball this season would provide the extra space for Marshall to find his touch and confidence back in the game.
Form is temporary but class is permanent.
Marshall might not as fleet-footed as he was once was, but he does have a smart footy brain. The most vital piece of real estate a footballer has is between his ears.
Hearing Marshall speak about the game over the years you understand he has footy nous.
I believe when his playing days are over a role in coaching beckons for him.
In the long run leaving the Tigers, regardless of the circumstances, might prove to be the best thing for him.
It will have got Marshall out of his comfort zone and might be the catalyst to revitalise him.
At five-eighth, halfback or even fullback, Benji Marshall has plenty to offer in the NRL.
I want him back playing the greatest game of all.