Benji and the Broncos a perfect fit: Prince
Benji Marshall's premiership-winning halves partner Scott Prince believes the Broncos are getting a bargain-basement superstar who will not only provide valuable mentoring to the club's young halves but is still capable of causing some chaos of his own.
Waiting in career limbo after the Dragons pulled an earlier offer of a contract extension from the negotiating table, Marshall's glittering career was in danger of simply withering on the vine before an unlikely lifeline emerged this week in Brisbane.
A phone call to coach Wayne Bennett seeking guidance put the wheels in motion and Broncos officials are now hopeful of making a formal announcement early next week providing the contract receives the tick of approval from the NRL.
Having pursued South Sydney's Cody Walker vigorously throughout the season the Broncos remained interested in adding a player capable of slotting into a number of positions onto their roster and in Marshall saw an opportunity simply too good to miss.
Marshall had played just four first grade games when Prince made the move from the Broncos to the Wests Tigers in 2004 and has no doubt that at 31 years of age the former Kiwi captain will prove a valuable acquisition both on and off the field.
"Even though everyone's saying his great days are behind him I think he's got a lot more to offer not only with his ability on the field but his knowledge of the game for the younger kids coming through. I think that's a massive plus," Prince told NRL.com.
"He also still has a presence in the game through the marketing aspect and he can certainly still pull a crowd old Benj. That's another positive for the club.
"I feel that knowing Wayne and the way he coaches, he'll just give Benji a simple instruction and that will be, that when he gets the footy, to run.
"We all know that when he runs the footy he's one of the most dynamic players in the game and I still believe he can carve a team up.
"Coming through he suffered some bad injuries that would have made a lot of players give it up, shoulder recos left and right, it was crazy.
"You'd walk into the sheds and he'd be sitting in the corner crying because he's popped his shoulder again and been told he needs another op.
"That's hard to take at the age of 21 or 22 to think your career will be cut short but he's worked hard and I'm really, really happy for the Broncos as a club and really happy for Benji that he's a part of that club.
"I know they look after their players and I know how professional they are and once he gets his head around the challenge he's faced with he'll be fine."
Still engaged as an ambassador with the Broncos and popping up at training numerous times during the season running drills with the likes of Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt, Prince believes Marshall will not only add to their knowledge as playmakers but push them to be better again in 2017.
"He'll certainly push for his position, he won't be going there for a holiday," said Prince, who played alongside Marshall for three seasons at the Tigers, including their 2005 Grand Final win over the Cowboys.
"He'll be going there wanting to play NRL football so it will be a healthy rivalry within the halves and maybe an opportunity to come off the bench.
"Knowing Benji and knowing all the boys, it's one of those things where if you're a halfback and a club goes and buys a halfback, it certainly brings some healthy rivalry within the team.
"Personally I believe he's got a lot to offer not only from a club point of view but also his knowledge of the game and what he can pass down to the next generation."