Benji Marshall has been cleared to make his Dragons debut in Saturday’s stoush with Parramatta. Photo: Kirk Gilmour
Benji Marshall will make his return to the NRL for St George Illawarra after the Dragons reached a deal with Wests Tigers over a clause in his deed of release.
Marshall trained with the Dragons’ top squad on Friday ahead of Saturday’s match against the Eels and will make his first appearance in the Red V at Parramatta Stadium.
The former New Zealand captain was not originally named in the St George Illawarra line-up after only starting training with the club on Tuesday but he has looked sharp and teammates say he has fitted in comfortably.
After quitting the Tigers last season for New Zealand rugby union, Marshall agreed to a clause in his deed of release stating he would not line-up against the club before 2017 and they wanted compensation to allow him to play for the Dragons.
St George Illawarraa chief executive Peter Doust and his Tigers counterpart Grant Mayer met with NRL officials on Thursday and a deal has now been reached.Dragons recruit Benji Marshall will make his debut for the club on Saturday after being officially registered to play by the NRL.
“The whole process has been complex but all parties are pleased to see that Benji will return to rugby league,” said Dragons chief executive Peter Doust.
“We understood and respected the position of the Wests Tigers, we had a similar clause in the contract of Mark Gasnier when he left to play rugby union in France, the only difference being that he returned to our club.”
Dragons coach Steve Price was pleased to have Marshall at his disposal for the Eels match.
“The coaching and performance staff are satisfied that Benji is fit to return to the NRL,” he said. “Benji has ticked all the boxes this week and is very keen to get back out on the field and play.
“He has trained well and fitted in really well with the group and we know that he will only get better as the weeks go by and he gets more rugby league training and games under his belt but we are looking forward to having him as a part of our team tomorrow”.