I was seven years old when Benji Marshall threw that magical flick pass and was part of the Tigers grand final winning 2005 team.
As I grew up and learn’t more and more about rugby league, Benji and the Tigers, and I realised that this guy was more than just a player who could step and flick pass.
I remember going out to games aged 10 or 11 and watching Benji more than I watched the game.
I remember thinking how great it was that I went for the team who had Benji Marshall.
He was my favourite player.
Every time Benji saved us at the death, every time he produced a magical try assist and I loved it when I would hear Gus Gould saying “he’s a freak”, it would put a smile on my dial.
Those days are over and we can’t argue with the facts, Benji is playing how he used to. But it annoys me when people constantly hammer him for throwing a bad pass or missing a soft tackle.
But everything he does right people seem to turn a blind eye on.
Take David Nofoaluma’s extraordinary leap above Jorge Taufua’s head to score the possible try of the year.
Who put up the perfectly placed kick… could it have been Benji Marshall? It was.
Tigers fans are looking for the easy way out and just blame Benji or Potter for everything, now that Blair has hit some form.
So when you think of bagging Benji, ask yourself the following questions.
When was the last time I won the golden boot? When was the last time I won an NRL grand final?
When was the last time I saved my country with two minutes to go in a Four Nations final? When was the last time I won a world cup?
When was the last time I topped the NRL try assists in a season? When was the last time I captained my country in rugby league?
When was the last time I was at the top of the most tries scored for the Wests Tigers?
When did I every inspire hundreds of Tigers fans and kids in New Zealand to play and love league?
Benji Marshall has done so much for the game and was an amazing player. One “bad” season doesn’t undo all of that.