Greg Martin puts boot into Benji Marshall
July 16, 2013
The NSW Waratahs have other stars to lock in before Benji Marshall © Getty Images
Too old, too fat and not good enough to play rugby - that's the stunning assessment delivered by ex-Wallabies player Greg Martin on Benji Marshall.
Despite a host of National Rugby League (NRL) players strolling into rugby over the past decade and immediately dominating, former Australia fullback Martin launched a scathing assessment of Marshall's ability and declared him not good enough to play the game.
Speaking on Brisbane's Triple M on Tuesday, Martin declared: "What a spoiled brat. Benji, we don't want you. It was the dream of a lot of people to play for the All Blacks but you've got to be good enough mate. You're old, you're no good and you're too fat."
Despite Martin's less-than-flattering critique, the Kiwi league international is likely to switch to rugby next year after severing ties with Wests Tigers following a failure to reach an agreement on a new deal.
The New South Wales Waratahs have thrown their hat in the ring for Marshall as the rugby league superstar prepares to quit the NRL after this season.
"We've been chatting with his manager now for a couple of years and we are definitely interested in bringing Benji Marshall to the Waratahs," Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen said. However, he made it clear the Waratahs' biggest immediate priorities were retaining league convert Israel Folau - sure to get an upgraded deal after a stellar first season - and signing free agent, Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale.
"He just feels he needs to get his mojo back and feels he's going to have to do that in rugby," Tauber said.
It sparked renewed speculation about New Zealander Marshall's next destination, with the Waratahs and Auckland-based fellow Super Rugby club the Blues to the fore after confirming talks. While Marshall may struggle to match the money he was offered to stay at Wests Tigers - he could possibly top up a Super Rugby deal with a stint in the lucrative Japanese club rugby competition. Tauber dropped a tantalising hint that he could head to the Waratahs.
"He's already had a conversation with Izzy (Folau) about playing rugby - they'd be a devastating duo," Tauber said.
The prospect of Marshall linking with the likes of Folau and Beale would delight Waratahs fans but Allen did not offer great cause for confidence.
"There could be a slight opportunity but there are a lot of things that need to fall into place and come our way with Benji Marshall," Allen said. "We've got some very big decisions pending with Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale and they are our priorities right now. But we can't close the door just yet."
The Melbourne Rebels were quick to dismiss any suggestion of chasing Marshall - or any link with their shock decisions to part with wayward Wallabies utility backs James O'Connor and Beale in the past fortnight.
Former Wallabies coach John Connolly believed Marshall could make a successful transition but said the biggest adjustment would be getting used to the closeness of the defensive line.
"There is not as much space to operate in, in rugby and that is something he will have to get used to," Connolly said. "He will have to learn how to create that space. Like Quade Cooper, he has a good left and right pass that can create space for his outside men. There will be a transition but I am sure he will make a success of it."
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