Wests Tigers man Benji Marshall has confirmed he rejected the chance to play for New Zealand in order to focus on his fitness. Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has offered Marshall a way back into international rugby, six years after he last wore the black and white.
Marshall, now 33, rolled back the years during the 2018 NRL campaign and he has now set his sights on 300 appearances in the competition.
He is currently nursing a calf injury and the fan favourite insists the chance to play for a 16th season was too hard to turn down.
“There’s an opportunity to play 300 games next year,” Marshall told reporters.
“I’m  away, so that’s a realistic goal for myself. With all the shoulder injuries I had I missed over 70 games. If I retire and have played 300 games, I feel that’s a pretty special milestone.
“I had to look in the mirror and think if I could contribute on the field or not. If that was a no, I wouldn’t have played. My main goal is to be in the team next year.
“I was in contact with Madge the whole time. He wanted to take me. I couldn’t commit because at the back end of the season I was playing injured with my calf and I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do on the field.”