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How a phone call to Wayne Bennett saved Benji's NRL career

Sporting News Sporting News 19/10/2016

© Provided by Sportal com au A phone call to Wayne Bennett seeking advice quickly turned into the contract negotiation that will see Benji Marshall sign with the Brisbane Broncos by Friday.

According to the Courier Mail, Marshall contacted Bennett and told the super coach he isn’t ready to retire.

Marshall was let go by St George Illawarra at the end of the season and was weighing up whether to head to the English Super League or hang up the boots at age 31.

Then he called Bennett.

“Benji actually rang Wayne for some career advice and that’s when the conversation turned to well what are you going to do Benji,” Marshall’s manager Martin Tauber told the Courier Mail.

“Benji said, ‘I’m not sure, I’m just looking for an opportunity’ and that’s where it all began.

“Wayne gave Benji some advice and that’s when the conversation turned. That’s what began the contract discussions.”

The former Wests Tigers and Dragons playmaker is a veteran of 255 NRL games.

He could have headed to England as a marquee player but wants to remain in Australia.

“The deal will be done,” Tauber confirmed.

“Benji will receive a contract from the Broncos in the next 24 to 48 hours and he will sign it.

“He desperately wants to continue his career at the Broncos.

“Whether it’s a one-year or two-year deal we’re not sure, maybe there will be an option (for a second season), but either way he’ll be moving to Brisbane.

“If he had his way, Benji would play another two or three years. Guys like Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith are playing well into their 30s.

“This is not about the money, it’s about the opportunity and Benji’s desire to play on.

“In his words, he said he’s not ready to retire.”

With Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt entrenched as the Broncos’ halves, the former Kiwi international will reportedly compete for a spot at centre and provide injury cover in the halves in Brisbane next season.

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