Benji Marshall makes a difference for Rabbitohs

While one veteran in Melbourne's Cameron Smith was missing, another in Benji Marshall showed he's still got plenty to offer after helping spark a resurgence that almost led to a Souths boilover win in their NRL opener against the Storm.
Souths attack was going nowhere in the first half, trailing 22-0, before coach Wayne Bennett called on veteran playmaker Marshall.

Two minutes later they had their first try, with Marshall, Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell combining for Alex Johnston to go over, while Marshall also had a hand in the winger's second.

PHOTOSPORT
Cameron Munster and Benji Marshall after their NRL opener.

Souths ended up falling six short (26-18) but Bennett said Marshall had "made a difference" and was happy with his contribution.


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The 36-year-old Wests Tigers great looked headed for retirement until linking with the Rabbitohs for the season.

He said he was surprised to get 50 minutes off the bench.

"I didn't expect that," Marshall told AAP.


"I didn't know what was going to happen - all I knew was that I was covering the backs and was a chance I might play in the middle if the game got real quick and then 15 minutes before halftime Wayne said I was going on.

"I just tried to bring a bit of energy and stability and play to my strengths and I thought I did that."

Marshall thought his combination with the halves through the middle worked well after plenty of time together in training.

"We knew what our roles were going to be if I got on in that position so it was pretty simple."

He said he there was no guarantee he would play the same role in round two against Manly, with Bennett possibly opting to use his forwards more.


Smith's retirement leaves Marshall as the oldest pemain in the NRL but he says he doesn't feel.

"It means nothing, everyone keeps telling me that, but I'd be the most immature oldest guy in the game."

He said he had reached out to the former Storm captain following his midweek announcement.

"I messaged him and told him how much of a privilege it was to play against him and told him he was the best I'd seen and that we'd have a beer together when I retire."


AAP

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