Benji Marshall was set to join the Bulldogs and play out his career alongside brother Jeremy Marshall-King but South Sydney playmaker Cody Walker is pleased the deal fell over.
Marshall, who was unwanted by Wests Tigers, believed he was close to finalising an agreement with Canterbury late last year but contact with the club ceased after the sudden departure of CEO Andrew Hill.
A desperate Marshall was forced to phone Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett seeking an opportunity and the Bulldogs are set to see first hand what they missed out on when the two clubs meet in their annual Good Friday clash at ANZ Stadium.
Marshall, who played alongside his brother for the first time with the Maori team in last month’s All Stars clash, won’t get the chance to grace the same field as him this weekend as he is out with a broken foot.
As far as Walker is concerned, Canterbury’s loss is South Sydney’s gain as the 36-year-old playmaker has had a positive influence on the group since arriving in Redfern six weeks ago.
“I watched him play in the 2005 grand final (for Wests Tigers) and you just pinch yourself that he is at our club,” Walker said.
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“He has inspired so many to play the game of rugby league, to step and flick pass and do all of those things.
“He is quite happy to do whatever role the team needs which is a huge credit to the guy because of what he has achieved in the game.
“He has done it all really and he is just a pleasure to have around the group as well. He is always tipping up the younger boys with whatever they need to do. He has been awesome.”
Marshall played 50 minutes as a middle forward in the opening round and sparked a Rabbitohs comeback that ultimately came up just short against Melbourne.
The following week against Manly he came on at centre before switching to halfback after captain Adam Reynolds was forced from the field for a HIA.
He again deputised for Reynolds in last Friday night’s triumph against Sydney Roosters but Walker hopes it doesn’t become a long-term move as he wants the Rabbitohs and their captain to strike a deal for a new contract.
Reynolds, who is Souths' longest serving player after the retirement of former captains John Sutton, is refusing to accept the offer of a one-year extension and wants a longer deal but Souths are currently refusing to budge.
“I think I speak on behalf of all the boys and the South Sydney community, no one wants to see him play anywhere else and hopefully they come to an agreement they are both happy with,” Walker said of Reynolds.
“He is our captain, he is the heart and soul of South Sydney now that Sutto is gone. He is a local junior and fingers crossed he stays here.”
The Rabbitohs will be aiming to climb into the top four by beating the winless Bulldogs on Friday as the other six teams on four points play one of the other sides separated from third to ninth spot on for-and-against.
Souths have scored 70 points and conceded 54 points in their loss to Melbourne and wins over the Sea Eagles and Roosters.
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We spoke about starting well on the weekend and playing South Sydney-style footy," Walker said.
"We were able to do that in the first half and scored three tries. It’s just about doing that over and over again. It’s quite simple but it’s quite hard.
"A lot of the games last season where we had a fairly big score our completion rate was really, really high so it comes hand in hand with how we want to play and being disciplined with and without the ball."