BRENDON Marshall has every reason to be emotional heading into tomorrow’s sudden-death Queensland Cup semi-final against Tweed Heads.
Marshall will play his 153rd and possibly last first grade match for the Jets, depending on if they win or lose at Tweed Heads, having announced his impending retirement last week.
But Marshall is confident he still has a few more games left in him in a Jets jersey.
The hardest part for Marshall was making the decision to retire.
The footballer agonised over it for seven weeks, until Jets captain Keiron Lander helped make the decision easy for him.
“I was back and forth in my mind,” Marshall said.
“I’ll do it, no I won’t – I can do one more year.”
Lander picked up on his mate’s internal struggle and convinced him he had nothing left to prove.
Marshall isn’t sure who will take over in the Jets number four jersey he has predominantly worn since joining the club in 2006.
But he has no doubt there will be plenty of strong candidates.
“There’s enough young kids there,” Marshall said. “That’s one for Ben and Shane next year.”
The Jets have shown, through the likes of Josh Cleeland, Carlin Anderson and Tautalatasi Tasi, that promoting young Ipswich talent pays off.
But the attacking and defensive prowess, as well as the cool head Marshall has provided for so long, are almost irreplaceable.
“Ben and Shane know they can bring someone in and help them adjust to the culture at the club,” Marshall said.
“The talent is always there.
“You’ve just got to know how to get the best out of them. Which is what Ben and Shane do.”
So Marshall will happily go quietly when the Jets season finishes, though he admits he’ll still be hanging around the team next season.
He doesn’t expect any fanfare when his career ends and has not stopped to consider the legacy he leaves behind.
“People can think what they want,” he said. “I hope in some ways I’ve helped show the younger boys what you need to play Q Cup every week.”
Marshall has no one specific standout memory as his favourite from his time at the club.
Rather, it is the cumulative emotional attachment that comes from loyalty over a long period of time that will stick with him.
“Just staying on board for so long,” Marshall said. “I’ve had offers to go to other clubs but always knew I’d stay there.”
Marshall insists he has no regrets but looks back on the 2008 grand final loss to Souths Logan as the great opportunity missed.
This year is the Jets’ best chance yet to make amends, but Marshall is not allowing himself to think along those lines.
It is the sign of a family man for who footy remains in perspective.
- Retiring Jets speedster Brendon Marshall.
- Favourite teammates: “Everyone I played with. Keiron Lander is up there, and Danny Coburn and Ian Lacey.”
- Most talented: “The Duck (Donald Malone). On his good days I’d hate to be standing in front of him.”
- Toughest: “Keiron by far. Seeing what he’s done with neck and back operations. And playing on after getting 12 stitches the other week. He lost six or seven of them last weekend.”