Benji: How I'll make Milford great
Superstar recruit Benji Marshall has stated that he has no interest in stealing his position away, instead vowing to help Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford grow from prodigious talent into NRL elite.
On his first day at his new club on Monday, Marshall and Milford were drawn together instantly, the kindred spirits rekindling a friendship that was formed when Milford was a teen prodigy at the Canberra Raiders.
At that time Marshall was visiting good friend Bronson Harrison who had four years at Canberra from 2009-2012 and made a point to meet a young man with fast feet who reminded the former Kiwi captain very much of himself.
With his unexpected arrival at Red Hill, Marshall now shapes as a key figure in the Milford narrative and the ability of the 22-year-old with 95 NRL games already to his name to handle the pressure and expectation that invariably follows players of rare talent.
If and when Marshall makes his Broncos debut in 2017 it will be the 256th game of his decorated career and his first piece of advice is to avoid the mistake that has plagued him in recent years and always remember to run.
"I've known 'Milf' for a long time, even before coming here," Marshall revealed on day one with his new club. "I just admire the way he plays.
"I thought last year was one of his best years, the first half of the competition, and this being my 15th season in the NRL I feel that I can help with experience and calming nerves.
"He's not too dissimilar to the way I played and if I can give him any advice it will be along the lines of what I've lost in the last couple of years.
"Don't get caught being the ball-player. Play what's your strength and for him I think it's his running game."
How Marshall fits into the Broncos make-up for Round 1 – if he indeed does at all – is one of the most intriguing sub-plots of the NRL pre-season.
Upon arrival at Broncos HQ the 31-year-old stated that he has no interest in usurping either Milford or Ben Hunt in the halves while Kodi Nikorima is unlikely to give up his status as the team's super-sub on the interchange bench without significant resistance.
With no guarantees that he will feature in the top 17, NRL.com understands that Broncos-affiliated Intrust Super Cup clubs have already begun sounding out Marshall in an attempt to lure him to their club should he not be playing NRL.
Marshall admitted that he had received phone calls from interested Intrust Super Cup clubs but that his focus remains very much on playing in the NRL on a weekly basis.
"The phone hasn't stopped going to be honest," Marshall said.
"I've had to not answer any calls for the last six weeks which has been pretty hard but my immediate goal is to not end up playing there.
"There's a fair chance that could happen so we'll just have to see what the Broncos think about where I play. I honestly don't know about that but my goal is to be the best again and be in the top 17.
"One of the key things that Wayne (Bennett, Broncos coach) mentioned to me was that he wanted to see me with a smile on my face and happy and coming in and playing the way I want to play.
"I want to have a fun year and if that's playing in that grade then it is but I'm a professional and pretty competitive so I'm not going to die wondering, trying to make the top 17 that's for sure."
Admitting that towards the end of his third season with St George Illawarra that he considered it may be his farewell season, Marshall said that signing a one-year deal with Brisbane provides the opportunity to go out on his own terms playing the way he wants to play.
"That's one of the key things that Wayne was interested in, that it wasn't about the money for me," Marshall said.
"Obviously you want to get paid as much as you can while you're in this short-term job but for me it's not so much about the money.
"It's about finishing the way I want to finish and being able to enjoy footy playing the way that I want to play."