Benji Marshall's illustrious career at the Wests Tigers ended on a sombre note but the veteran five-eighth is adamant he has his mind set on playing in 2021 after farewelling the club at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.
Marshall preferred to turn the focus on to retiring teammate Chris Lawrence, rather than his own departure and future, following the side's 28-24 loss to Parramatta in a clear sign he's not about to call it quits despite uncertainty around his future.
"The boys really put in tonight and even though we didn't get the result we wanted we will celebrate the career of Chris Lawrence, who has been the heart and soul of the club for 15 years," Marshall told Fox Sports post-match.
"When you look at what Chris has done with all those injuries and the resilience and toughness he has shown to come back has been phenomenal."
Marshall's final game at the joint venture ended early in the 18th minute when he suffered knee and rib injuries after being twisted awkwardly in a tackle.
Not wanted by Michael Maguire beyond next season, Marshall was at his roaming best for the opening 17 minutes of the match before failing to return.
The initial diagnosis is a torn medial cruciate ligament and broken ribs for Marshall, who also limped from the field for a head injury assessment in a triple whammy for the Kiwi international.
Wests Tigers farewell Marshall and Lawrence
The 2005 premiership hero has played 257 games for Wests Tigers in two separate stints and is regarded as the joint venture's finest-ever player.
"It was disappointing but I think everyone is aware of what Benji has done in the game," Maguire said of Marshall's finish.
"For every young kid watching and playing, they're all imitating Benji Marshall.
"Over in New Zealand, I've been fortunate to spend some time with him and to watch the young kids emulate what Benji Marshall has done in the game is a real credit to him.
"He'll be a legend of the club and holds a big legacy in the game."
Maguire said the four-point loss to the Eels was a reflection of the side's inconsistent season where they showed patches of brilliance but struggles with defensive resilience.
With the Eels leading 16-8 at half-time things looked bleak for Marshall and Lawrence.
However, Adam Doueihi pulled the strings magnificently in Marshall's absence and with Luke Brooks producing one of his best games of the year Wests Tigers surged to a 24-16 lead midway through the second half.
Talau shows his finishing prowess
But there was to be no joy for Marshall or Lawrence as Parramatta fought their way back into the contest and scored late to hold on to their top-four spot ahead of next week's finals series.
"There's plenty to work with, that's what I saw there from tonight's game," Maguire said.
"I've said that many times before throughout the season. I thought we fought really hard but put ourselves in positions where defensively we didn't repel them enough.
"The future of the club is bringing the younger guys through and then someone like Jimmy Tamou coming and leading us forward."
Along with Marshall and Lawrence, the Tigers confirmed Elijah Taylor, Matt Eisenhuth, Dylan Smith, Robert Jennings and Oliver Clark will also leave the club.
Ferguson spills a Doueihi bomb and Kepaoa picks it up