Benji back to his best: Bennett
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett believes Benji Marshall is back to his best after another outstanding performance for Brisbane in their 30-20 win over the Canberra Raiders on Saturday night.
It was vintage Marshall, with the 32-year-old's fancy footwork and sublime passing game bamboozling the Raiders' defence time and time again.
Marshall produced two try assists and looked threatening every time he ran at the line in what was his best game of the season.
Bennett is now reaping the rewards of signing Marshall in the pre-season; a move that many thought would not pay off for the master coach.
But it has, and Bennett could not be happier.
"I thought he was really good. It was just nice to see him being Benji," Bennett said.
"We all loved certain aspects of his game and what he always brought, but he's probably had three or four years of not being that player that he was.
"He hadn't lost his ability. He'd probably just lost a bit of his enthusiasm.
"He's been great at the Broncos. He's great with all the players and he's really added something to our team."
Marshall started the match with Kodi Nikorima in the halves, but unlike Marshall, Nikorima struggled to make an impact on the game.
After a tough start Nikorima was benched in the 33rd minute, and Bennett said his young halfback would learn from the experience.
"He was getting targeted a fair bit. There were a lot of guys running at him," he said.
"I thought he was pretty solid, but we just needed him to take a bit of control there. We were losing our way during the last 15-20 minutes of the first half.
"A halfback's job is to take control and he's a young halfback so he will be better for that experience.
"I intended to put him back in the second half but the way the game was going it just didn't really work out."
The main reason Nikorima did not return was the form of Ben Hunt off Brisbane's bench.
Hunt replaced Nikorima and thrived, setting up two tries and forcing four goal-line dropouts in a commanding performance.
It was a great response from Hunt who was playing his first game back in the NRL since being dropped to the Intrust Super Cup in Round 14, and Bennett was pleased with the way Hunt applied himself during his return to the top grade.
"I don't think anyone was disappointed with the way Ben played tonight. We were all pleased with what he did," he said.
"As I said when I sent him back to the Intrust Super Cup... We need Ben to be at his best, not his second best."