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Broncos may be victim of Marshall's soar

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/06/2017 Laine Clark

Now that he has rejuvenated Benji Marshall, Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett fears he may not be able to afford to re-sign the off-contract veteran.

Bennett raised eyebrows when he threw the 32-year-old former Kiwi a 2017 NRL lifeline, luring him to the Broncos on a bargain basement one-year deal.

But Bennett appears to have had the last laugh after Marshall's inspired NRL form for Brisbane during their tough State of Origin period.

So impressive has Marshall been that he has been named bench utility over star halfback Ben Hunt for Friday night's Suncorp Stadium clash with South Sydney.

Bennett paid tribute to the former New Zealand captain after he overcame a broken wrist this year to recapture the "old Benji form".

"He came here for the right reasons, he wanted an opportunity and we gave him that," Bennett said.

"He's had six weeks with a broken hand and come back and played really well.

"He's coming back to the old Benji form."

Bennett said Marshall - in his 15th NRL season - was happy playing again.

The Broncos coach said the former Wests Tigers premiership winner had "lost some direction" after his three-year Dragons stint ended in 2016.

"I didn't think he had lost his ability," Bennett said.

"He might have lost some direction in his life.

"It was just a matter of getting him back to that place where he is enjoying his footy again, around guys who help him play better.

"He has been outstanding at the club.

"He's a go-to player if any of the boys have a problem."

But Bennett may be a victim of his own success.

The master coach wants to re-sign the veteran but fears the resurgent Marshall may now be out of his price range.

"We are keen to keep him here, whether we can I am not sure," Bennett said.

"He's a lot more valued player now he is here and playing the way he is.

"We have a salary cap like everyone else. We got him at a really good price at the time, let's see where it goes."

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