My No.1 priority is to be in the top 17 every week: Benji

My No.1 priority is to be in the top 17 every week: Benji

MATTHEW ELKERTON

BENJI Marshall is not at the Rabbitohs to just make up the numbers.

The premiership-winning playmaker was thrown an 11thhour lifeline by master coach Wayne Bennett last month after being left homeless for this season. Marshall turns 36 this week and it is believed this season will be a farewell tour for the 324-game NRL veteran.

But after steering the Maori All Stars to within an inch of back-to-back NRL All Stars titles, Marshall will not be content with just fading off into retirement.

There is a hunger in the halfback to be included in Bennett’s top 17 every week, even if it means adjusting his game to a new role through the middle.

“Going to Souths, I know what my role is going to be, I won’t be starting,” Marshall said. “But like I said to everyone, I have played long enough to put my best foot forward and I’ll just prove a point that I should be picked every week. If I don’t (get picked), I will just keep proving it.

“The (Rabbitohs) squad is very talented and I feel like I can add a lot to the squad and help with a few things there, but playing is my No.1 priority. I’ll do everything I can to make sure I’m in the 17 every week.

“I won’t be playing 13. But if I have to come off the bench and play a sort of a role through the middle, that’s fine. A second hooker maybe or ball player, a bit like how Michael Morgan plays Origin when he comes off the bench. I don’t know, I haven’t really talked to Wayne about it. He is like a secret guy but we’ll see.”

Marshall is expected to be part of the Rabbitohs squad for the Charity Shield trial against the Dragons in Mudgee this weekend, and the way Bennett uses him there could shed more light on where he fits into a stacked South Sydney squad.

If anything is clear from the NRL All Stars clash in Townsville on Saturday, it’s that the evergreen halfback has not lost his touch.

Marshall set up the side’s first try for Broncos backrower Jordan Riki, and controlled the game with his kicking.