Marshall looking to impress at Nines
Brisbane utility Benji Marshall will don a Broncos jersey for the first time at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines as he tries to earn a spot in Brisbane's 17 for their Round 1 clash against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
The pressure is on Marshall to break his way into a strong Broncos backline that boasts a number of experienced representative stars.
His task will be made even harder with the arrival of former Gold Coast Titan David Mead at Red Hill, but Marshall's versatility has ensured he is still firmly in the mix.
The New Zealand international has been working in a number of positions during the pre-season, with many believing his best chance of making the Broncos' side is on the bench as a utility.
He will start his audition on Saturday when Brisbane take on the Melbourne Storm in their first Nines match, and teammate Anthony Milford has tipped the 31-year-old to shine.
"Benji will be really good for us at the Nines. He's a flashy player and he's showed that at training so it will be good to see him in action," Milford said.
"He won't be the only one to play well. There are plenty of other young exciting players in New Zealand with us as well.
"Benji's been playing a few positions for us in the backline. He's been in and out of the halves and also in the centres.
"I think Benji is making himself a great utility and he's good in that role.
"It will be interesting to see how the coach uses him this weekend, but I think he is more than capable of succeeding in any position on the field."
The former Golden Boot winner will take the field with Milford for the first time after a long pre-season in stifling hot temperatures.
Despite the heat, Milford said he has appreciated the pre-season, especially working with some of Brisbane's new recruits.
"It has been an enjoyable pre-season," he said.
"I think everyone is getting a lot out of it. It's what we build our season on.
"We have to work hard now so we can reap the rewards later in the year.
"I'm very keen to play some footy. Having a run around with the boys in Auckland will be great."
The other half of Brisbane's squad will take on the Sharks in a trial match at Dolphin Oval on Saturday night.
Both the Broncos and Cronulla will field strong sides in what is an important hit-out for both teams.