South Sydney are hoping to send Benji Marshall out on a high with coach Wayne Bennett suggesting the veteran would be retiring after next Sunday's grand final.
The Rabbitohs will face either Melbourne on Penrith in next week's premiership decider, and it could be the perfect farewell for Marshall who joined the club late in the pre-season for the chance to bow out of the game with a title.
Marshall won the 2005 premiership with the Wests Tigers, and was not offered a new deal by the club at the end of the 2020 season. He was close to signing with the Bulldogs to play alongside brother Jeremy Marshall-King before making the switch to Bennett's Rabbitohs.
"The thing I like about Benji is, he rang me up and said 'My deal's fallen through – I'd love to come to South Sydney'," Bennett said after Friday night's 36-16 win over Manly.
Marshall with soft hands for Graham
"And I went and saw [fellow playmakers] Adam [Reynolds] and Cody [Walker] because I didn't want them to think that I was undermining them, and they wanted him to come.
"So I rang him back and I said, 'Why do you want to come to South Sydney for?' And he said, 'I think you can be in the premiership, I think you can be in the grand final. And I want to go out on a good note'.
"I said 'OK mate, let's do that. I'll make you number 14 every week, that's my guarantee to you, and he's been wonderful for us."
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Marshall was emotional after the win after the recent death in his family due to bowel cancer.
"Mixed emotion today. Part of my wife's family lost their daughter Jess to bowel cancer yesterday, just a bit of a tribute to pass on my condolences," Marshall told Channel Nine.
"She made these hats to support bowel cancer, and the black arm band as well. Just wanted to pass on our best to the family."
The 36-year-old could have a larger role than usual in the grand final with Reynolds under an injury cloud after battling a groin strain during Friday night's win.
"I obviously wanted to be out there with the team," Reynolds said.
"There was a little moment in the change rooms there where Wayne and I looked at each other but it was never really seriously going to see me miss the game."
Marshall said earlier this week he was yet to make a decision about his playing future beyond 2021.
He will finish his career as one of the superstars of the NRL era, with 96 tries and 260 try assists across 344 NRL matches plus 31 Tests for New Zealand and a World Cup win in 2008.