Source / Facebook
Asked why he wanted to join South Sydney after a contract extension with Wests Tigers fell through, rugby league legend Benji Marshall (Ngāi Tūhoe) told Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, "I think you can win the premiership."
Now, the 36-year-old Marshall is knocking on the door of a second career premiership title, after the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated the Manly Sea Eagles 36-16 in Friday night's first preliminary final.
The Rabbitohs will play the winner of Saturday's game between the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers in next weekend's NRL Grand Final.
"I love this club @ssfcrabbitohs for giving this washed up old bloke an opportunity to play on," Marshall posted on social media after the game.
Marshall, who made his NRL debut in 2003 as an 18-year-old, won the 2005 premiership with Wests Tigers when he was just 20.
"GF here we come. Hasn’t been that long between drinks," he joked.
Marshall said he was "seriously" considering retiring late last year when the Tigers told him he was not part of their future plans. But Marshall credits his wife, Zoe, for his change in fortunes.
"My wife, she said, 'just give Wayne a try'. So I called him and he said, 'I've got one spot left, so come and see what happens'," Marshall said of Bennett who also gave him a lifeline in 2017 with a one-year deal at the Brisbane Broncos.
Source: NRL / YouTube
Bennett was full of praise of Marshall post-match, "He's been wonderful, a real pro. He's great around the young players."
He is picking that next Sunday's final will be Marshall's swan song, "I think so, but he's like a lot of us, he's not one to make a fuss about it," Bennett said.
"But you can't retire at a better moment than that in your football career than in a grand final. It doesn't get any better than that."
Marshall joked, "I don't know if it's the end yet - but if he's retired me, it might be."