14 Mar 2009

NRL given boost

6:49 am on 14 March 2009

The nightmare start to the National Rugby League season has turned somewhat brighter with superstars Billy Slater and Benji Marshall signing long-term deals with their clubs.

The New Zealand Test star Marshall turned his back on any chance of playing rugby union in Japan by signing with the Wests Tigers until the end of 2011.

Australian fullback and last year's Golden Boot winner Billy Slater also spurned rugby advances by securing his future with Melbourne until 2012.

The NRL's image has taken been tarnished again this week after Manly's Brett Stewart was charged with sexual assault.

The 24-year-old is the latest in a long line of players who've got into trouble after a night of heavy drinking.