Harry Grant went to great lengths for more opportunity at NRL level and has no problem doing the same as he seeks a Queensland State of Origin debut.
In a career spanning 17 years, Benji Marshall has produced so many resurrections and reincarnations that some believe he could be his own grandfather.
Much like modern-day technology, the Tigers legend has undergone routine software updates to ensure he remains compatible with rugby league’s ever-evolving glitches and interfaces, like rule changes and Jason Taylor.
With the uber-entertaining playmaker set to bid farewell to his beloved club tonight, let’s revisit his multiple operating systems from a career spanning almost 18 iPhones and counting.
Pre-dating the release of the smart device, Marshall burst on to the scene in 2003 in a flurry of paranormal footwork and hair gel and tipping the scales at 55 kilos, 45 of which were earrings and peach fuzz.
The baby-faced schoolboy immediately won the hearts and minds of the rugby league public with his refreshing ignorance of structure both on and off the park, focusing his powers on white-knuckle carries rather than useless stuff like an education.
Before sedating his game with touch-finders and life experience, Marshall’s modus operandi was dazzling virtuoso hands and off-Broadway trickery, and that was just kicking for touch after a penalty.
This behaviour peaked with his famous flick pass to Pat Richards that dripped with derring-do and anti-establishmentarianism. It seemed in the heady moments following that fairytale 2005 premiership that more glory beckoned for Marshall, but sadly, he stayed at the Tigers.
While dotted with some of the finest attacking footy you’ll see, Marshall’s early years saw him endure a shocking run of injuries thanks to a pair of shoulders like retractable biros. But after years of sweat in the gym, he was able to develop the rotator cuffs required for the game’s most rigorous arena, and he would thankfully go on to survive those Michael Maguire training sessions.
By 2010, opposition defences had run out of ideas for stifling Benji’s hypnotic powers, and hence had simply resorted to sandbagging.
This form led to a Golden Boot and Four Nations title, and a rise in profile that naturally saw him awarded with the poisoned chalice as the face of the NRL’s next advertising campaign. Luckily, the routine police charges that followed were eventually dropped.
The Kiwi even enjoyed a brief dalliance with the 15-man code, walking the well-worn path of rugby league players who foolishly believed they were lusted for by the All Blacks.
However, the move never reached the heights he craved, and he took the opportunity to negotiate a release at an opportune time (a scrum reset). Upon his return, the game met him with open arms, despite time siding with the enemy and signing with St George Illawarra.
As time passed, Marshall evolved in to a steady organiser and father figure, mainly because of a resurgence in conservative values in society, plus he didn’t want to go to England.
Marshall’s game began to mellow, replacing rapid-fire feet and audacious no-look passes with solemn 50-metre field goals and audacious no-look passes.
Desperate for a lifeline after failing to meet terms with the Dragons, Marshall headed north to restore his factory settings with former Kiwis coach Wayne Bennett at the Broncos. While only at the Queensland powerhouse for a season, he was there long enough to catch Anthony Milford training.
Marshall will farewell his beloved Tigers tonight for the second time in his career, a club record for teary departures that falls slightly short of Robbie Farah’s 56 (number correct at time of printing).
The prince of playmakers leaves behind the joint venture as one of its patron saints, etching his name in history alongside the club’s other mythical and inexplicable phenomena such as Pat Richards’ boot and the 2005 premiership.