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Benji baulks at reserve grade offers

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Laine Clark

Clubs are queuing up for Benji Marshall.

Brisbane reserve grade clubs, that is.

But the veteran New Zealand playmaker is still backing himself to cement a spot in the Broncos' top 17 next year.

So much so that he has refused to answer calls from prospective reserve grade sides - for now.

Marshall, 31, admitted there was a "fair chance" he would play in the second tier Queensland Cup after signing a shock one-year Broncos deal for 2017.

In a queue behind Broncos halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt, Marshall's best bet appears to be selection as a bench utility.

Otherwise a lengthy Queensland Cup stint awaits.

However, Marshall said he had begrudgingly refused to acknowledge calls from reserve grade clubs.

"The phone hasn't stopped going," said Marshall, who officially began pre-season training with the Broncos this week.

"I have not answered the phone the last six weeks which has been pretty hard.

"My immediate goal is to not play there (Queensland Cup) but there is a fair chance that could happen.

"We will have to see where the Broncos want me to play, and I have no idea where that is.

"But my goal is to be in the best team and in the top 17 again."

The former Kiwis captain has overcome hamstring issues that sabotaged his 2016 season with the Dragons and threatened to leave him on the NRL scrap heap.

Marshall said he now wanted to make the most of his lifeline from Brisbane master coach Wayne Bennett.

"One of the key things that Wayne said was that he wanted to see me with a smile on my face again.

"If it is playing in that (reserve) grade then so be it.

"But I am professional and pretty competitive - I am not going to die wondering, put it that way."

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