Wests Tigers legend Benji Marshall turned down an offer to bring his family on the field for his final game in a swipe to the club after learning through the media he would not be re-signed.
The 35-year-old chose to walk his honorary lap alone to mark his sendoff at Bankwest Stadium, in western Sydney, on Saturday night.
His wife Zoe and son Fox were nowhere to be seen while outgoing teammate Chris Lawrence accompanied Marshall with his daughter Emme and wife Kathrynn.
The NRL had successfully applied for an exemption for the two players to have their families on the field following the Wests Tigers v Eels showdown.
Wests Tigers legend Benji Marshall (pictured, with outgoing teammate Chris Lawrence and his daughter Emme) turned down an offer to bring his family on the field for his final game
The 35-year-old’s decision not to bring his family out was a bitter swipe to the club that ruthlessly decided to drop him for 2021
Marshall’s wife Zoe and son Fox (pictured) were nowhere to be seen while outgoing teammate Chris Lawrence accompanied Marshall with his daughter Emme and wife Kathrynn
But Marshall refused the invitation following the team’s decision to let him go, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Marshall had been hoping to play for another year with the Tigers, and only found out he would not be re-signed for 2021 after reading a report.
The decision to drop Marshall shocked faithful fans of the club, with over 10,000 people signing an online petition calling for him to be re-signed.
‘This isn’t the way to treat a club legend!!!’ the campaign read.
‘Benji deserves to play as a tiger for his final season in 2021’.
Marshall is just one of eight players to leave Wests Tigers by the end of the year.
Matt Eisenhuth, Dylan Smith, Robert Jennings and Oliver Clark will also not be re-signed.
None of the players have been picked up by other clubs so far, including Marshall.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Marshall refused the invitation following the team’s decision to let him go (pictured, Marshall walks his honorary lap on Saturday night)
The decision to drop Marshall has shocked faithful fans of the club (pictured, Marshall with teammate Luke Brooks on Saturday)
Tigers coach Michael Maguire said he was hopeful the 35-year-old would return in a different capacity.
‘I would like to think when things get sorted out he is around the club,’ Maguire said.
‘I see him in the future potentially in coaching positions in different opportunities in the club.
‘He loves the club, he loves the Wests Tigers.
‘You are always making big decisions as a club with list management. You have to move forward.
‘But moving forward off the field I want Benji Marshall to be part of the club.’
Marshall is the second most capped player in Wests Tigers and has played 253 games for the club.
He made his debut in 2003 and quickly cemented himself as a star player.
Marshall carried the team to victory during its maiden Premiership in 2005 and was made an inaugural life member in 2013.
He briefly left the team in 2014 and headed to New Zealand to play Super Rugby for Auckland’s Blues.
Wests Tigers welcomed him back to the club in 2018.