I'm not too old, says determined Benji
Veteran Dragons playmaker Benji Marshall has laughed off suggestions his body isn't up to the rigors of NRL football.
The former New Zealand international has battled an ongoing hamstring complaint this season that has restricted him to 15 games.
Marshall said with a big pre-season under his belt he would work past his hamstring woes and that he had overcome "way worse" throughout his career.
Marshall remains uncontracted for the 2017 season and won't remain at St George Illawarra.
The Dragons' clash with the Knights this weekend will also be the last time Mitch Rein, Ben Creagh and Mike Cooper don the Red V jumper.
"I'm 31. I'm not 35. There are still blokes running around at 35 so all this talk about me being too old is [crap]," Marshall said.
"Anyone who knows me, knows what's affected me this year has been the hamstring. But I know I can come back from it.
"I feel great. I feel like I'm just starting to find the confidence in sprinting again so physically I feel sweet," he added.
"I still have a burning desire within to play. I'd love to play on and I'm still working on that. If that doesn't happen then I want to make sure I enjoy this weekend.
"I want to leave on a good note, although it's been a tough year, and enjoy the last week with the boys."
While the idea of retirement has been floated around, Marshall said he hasn't truly considered hanging the boots up after 254 NRL games and 25 Tests for the Kiwis.
"It could be an option because I'm realistic about what's to come but at the same time I still want to play," Marshall said.
"If that doesn't happen then I've been fortunate enough to do a few jobs along the way that will put me in good stead in life after football. Opportunities other blokes don't have so I'm blessed in that sense."
Marshall refused to label this weekend's game a final stand for a contract.
"It's a big game for me on an emotional level because it's the last time I'm going to play with a lot of these guys," he said.
"I've spent two-and-a-half years here and it's been some of the best fun that I've had. Coming back to rugby league, I couldn't have picked a better bunch of dudes."
Marshall could see one silver lining in his departure from the Dragons.
"This is the last week I'm going to have to drive to Wollongong from Sydney so I'll save some money on petrol," he said. "I might need it."
The Dragons will wear #PurpleOurWorld socks this weekend to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer - a cause close to Marshall's heart after he lost his father to the cruel disease seven years ago.
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