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20 Jan 2018 18:06
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Marshall nervous ahead of shock NRL recall

    Benji Marshall says he will be a nervous man when he caps a remarkable comeback and starts as Brisbane halfback in their NRL finals clash with Sydney Roosters.

    - article from

    Years of experience will help Benji Marshall ease Brisbane jitters ahead of the Broncos' NRL qualifying final against Sydney Roosters.

    But the veteran playmaker admits he will be a nervous man when he steps out to cap a remarkable NRL comeback on Friday.

    Barely a year after contemplating retirement, the rejuvenated 32-year-old will start at halfback at Allianz Stadium in a backline reshuffle caused by the withdrawal of fullback Darius Boyd (hamstring).

    Since snapping up a Brisbane lifeline this year, ex-New Zealand skipper Marshall has embraced a support role at the club, keeping spirits high as they battled a worrying injury toll.

    Marshall's good vibes were needed more than ever this week after skipper Boyd joined Tevita Pangai Jr (hamstring), Korbin Sims (arm) and hooker Andrew McCullough (knee) ahead of the crunch clash.

    "I will just try and keep the guys relaxed and keep it fun at training," said Marshall, a Wests Tigers premiership player 12 years ago.

    "I keep it light hearted. I think that goes a long way to relaxing them for semi-finals."

    But Marshall conceded he may need some settling after the injury toll earned him a stunning finals start.

    "It's a big occasion, it's finals football, so I am sure there will be a little bit of nerves," he said.

    "But the good thing about this club is that we prepare well and I know this group will really stand up this week so that probably takes those nerves away a little bit."

    Remarkably Marshall contemplated walking away from the game after being left without a club following 14 seasons in the top grade.

    A phone call to Wayne Bennett for advice led to a cut-price one-year Broncos deal.

    He revelled in his second chance, playing 10 games to date and having an even bigger impact as a team mentor particularly for young halves Anthony Milford, Kodi Nikorima and Ben Hunt.

    "I have probably grown up a lot in the 12 months here," Marshall said.

    "The best things in my life have probably happened here, my wife is pregnant and off the field life is happy - it has been great for us.

    "Coming to Brisbane has been the best thing to happen to me in my career.

    "Playing with this bunch of players has been a privilege."

    Stand-in Brisbane skipper Adam Blair said the feeling was mutual.

    "He got an opportunity here and he didn't want to hang up the boots at that stage - a lot of credit has got to go to Benji."

    Marshall's form has earned him a 2018 deal with his beloved Tigers in what looms as a fairytale finish to his glittering career.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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