Benji Marshall has announced his retirement from the NRL.
A tearful Marshall made the announcement alongside Wayne Bennett at a press conference in front of his South Sydney Rabbitohs teammates and family.
The 36-year-old made 346 NRL appearances after debuting in the competition for Wests Tigers in 2003.
He played 257 games for the Tigers across two spells, including winning the 2005 grand final in which he set the game alight as part of the greatest grand final try of all time.
Marshall’s extraordinary darting run from deep in his own half, and magical flick pass on the halfway line, released Pat Richards on a 90-metre run ending in a spectacular try, with the Tigers beating the Cowboys 30-16.
Earlier that season, he made the first of 31 appearances for New Zealand. He captained the Kiwis between 2008 and 2012 and was part of the World Cup winning side in 2008.
After a brief, six-game spell in rugby union with Auckland’s Blues, Marshall returned to the NRL with the Dragons and Broncos, before returning to Leichhardt for another three-year spell at the Tigers.
He played 22 games this season with the Rabbitohs, primarily as a utility number 14, adding support to Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds off the bench as the Bunnies reached the grand final, losing out 14-12 to Penrith Panthers in a thriller.
“[I] Made the number 14 position my own this year,” Marshall told Channel Nine after that game.
“[I] was just enjoying it. I got to play with guys like Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.
“Those guys really made it exciting.”
His 22 appearances, albeit off the bench, was the most he made in a single season since 2015.
“Age is just a number,” he said after the grand final.
“You still turn up and join in at training on the field, why not?”