‘Not Going To Sit Back And Listen To Wayne’: The ‘big Reason’ Why Bennett Signed Benji To The Bunnies
Source: FOX SPORTS
February 18, 2021 5:53pm
When the Rabbitohs unveiled Benji Marshall as their newest signing in January there were a lot of people who had to pick their jaw up off the floor.
Why would Wayne Bennett need Marshall — a 35-year-old half who has one or two seasons left in him — when he has one of the most experienced halves combinations in the competition?
South Sydney’s star hooker Damien Cook put it quite simply on Thursday. Bennett needs him because the Kiwi Test legend is willing to push boundaries no other player would dare try.
The pair have spent a lot of time together over the years whether it be at Red Hill when Bennett signed Marshall to the Broncos or in camp with the NRL All Stars and New Zealand Test squad.
They’ve formed a unique bond where Marshall is not afraid to disagree or put forward his own ideas.
“Because they’ve been together at a couple of different clubs they’ve got a great relationship where Benji’s not going to sit back and listen to Wayne,” Cook told Foxsports.com.au.
“If he’s got something to say he’ll say it and I think that’s a big reason why Wayne wanted to bring him to the club.”
Of course Marshall brings a lot more to Redfern than just the confidence to push back at the most experienced coach in the game.
There’s the 324 NRL games, 31 caps for New Zealand, the famous footwork and that iconic flick pass. We all know his legacy. And so do his new teammates… well most of them.
“We actually figured out that one of the boys, Davvy Moale is 17-years old and Benji has been playing for 19 years so he’s been playing since before Davvy was born,” Cook grinned.
Marshall might not find that revelation so amusing.
But all jokes aside, the rugby league icon has already had a big impact on Cook who said he is “a breath of fresh air” and will particularly benefit the leaders in the squad.
"Since Sam (Burgess), Greg (Inglis) and (John) Sutton have left the playing group, Reyno, Cody and myself have been the senior players but now to have Benji come in, it sort of keeps us accountable.
“I think it’s going to be really good for us in making sure we’re kept on our toes and keeping it fresh. We can learn off him and obviously his experience in the game and everything he’s done, he’s going to be a great addition for us.”
So with every key position for the Rabbitohs already filled with one of the best the competition has to offer, where will Marshall fit in?
According to Cook, we’ll likely see him fill the bench utility role.
"He’s done a bit (of training) in the halves, I know he’d be fine if he had to play hooker as well and with the way the game is going he could come on at lock in the middle as well and have that extra hooker or half on the field.
"Watching him during ball skills he’s still got all the skills he’s had his whole career.
“If anything the game is heading the right way for Benji to be a great utility player.”