Marshall-King ponders code switch
The forgotten brother of St George Illawarra star Benji Marshall has touted a possible return to rugby league.
Jordan Marshall-King was once one of the Wests Tigers' brightest young talents before a series of knee and shoulder injuries cut short his rugby league career.
Marshall-King made a name for himself playing as a backline utility for a dominant Tigers NYC outfit in 2012, but injuries ensured he never went on to play in the NRL.
Instead his career peaked in 2012 when he won the under-20s grand final while playing for Wests – defeating the Canberra Raiders 46-6.
It was not long after this grand final victory that he made the full-time switch to touch football and he has since become one of Australia's elite touch football players, going onto represent his adopted nation on a number of occasions.
Just this week Marshall-King helped the Australian Open Men's touch football team claim a 3-0 whitewash over New Zealand in the 2016 Trans-Tasman Touch Football Series.
Despite his achievements in touch football, he says watching his brothers succeed in rugby league makes him want to go back to the sport that he enjoyed so much growing up.
"I've been in contact with a few clubs, but I'm still unsure whether I want to make the return to rugby league," Marshall-King said.
"I have a few niggling injuries, so it would be a risk for me. I've had a year off, but I'm still deciding what to do.
"Watching how good 'Benj' and my little brother Jeremy Marshall-King are going makes me want to play again. It inspires me to make a return to the sport.
"It's my body that's the issue at the moment. I've had surgery on my knee and I have a bit of a dodgy shoulder like they both do so I have a lot to think about."
Marshall-King is a rare talent and can play anywhere from fullback to halfback, and this versatility will only help his cause if he decides to go through with a rugby league comeback.
Rugby league is in his blood, with younger brother Jeremy playing NSW Cup for Wests and training part-time with the first grade squad.
He says both he and Jeremy owe their sporting success to their inspirational brother Benji, with the 31-year-old's sacrifices inspiring the two younger brothers.
"He's inspired me a lot. He moved away from home at a young age and to see where he came from to where he is now is amazing," he said.
"He's not only a big inspiration to me, but also to my little brother [Jeremy] who is playing NSW Cup at the moment.
"He's an inspiration to pretty much every young kid from New Zealand.
"He's been a big part of my life in general but in my sporting life he has definitely been one of the biggest influences."
Benji first made a name for himself in touch football, playing for Australia's World Cup winning Mixed Open touch football team in 2003.
He took home the International Award for Player of the Series before later focusing on rugby league – making his NRL debut in the same year.
Code swaps like this are becoming more and more prevalent since the NRL and TFA (Touch Football Australia) formed an alliance in 2013.
Pathways are now there for talented sports men and women to turn their touch football skills into a career with the NRL.
If he can get his body back to 100 per cent fitness, it looks as if Marshall-King may be the next talented athlete to go through with the switch and make his mark on the sport he has always loved.