BENJI Marshall has been at the centre of a battle between the Broncos’ affiliate clubs since signing with Brisbane, but one club has secured the playmaker — if not wearing the maroon and gold.
The Redcliffe Dolphins were always confident they would get Benji Marshall, and now the Brisbane Broncos have confirmed it.
The Intrust Super Cup race was on between the Dolphins, Ipswich Jets and Wynnum Manly Seagulls for the experienced playmaker, and the minor premiers won out.
The Dolphins have been allocated Marshall, Tom Opacic, Jonus Pearson, Mosese Pangai, and Matt Gillett.
Redcliffe football operations manager Grant Cleal admitted there had been a pigeon hole for Marshall in the player’s area since November last year, and the club had waited patiently to hear since the Broncos first indicated he could join them.
“There was no battle, we were given an indication he could come to us before Christmas… there were no promises, but we were confident,” Cleal said.
“We just waited until the Broncos confirmed.”
Cleal said he had hoped to get Marshall given they were without star Darren Nicholls this year.
“But in saying that, we have Christian Hazard who could move into the halves … back into the position he grew up playing,” Cleal said.
“Benji is a good utility player, which is really handy. He’ll really add value.”
Cleal said he was “happy, really happy” with all five players the Dolphins had been allocated.
“Our club has always, and always will, recruit as if we’re not getting any Broncos players… but now that we have them, they’ll be good additions to our squad,” Cleal said.
“It’s good to get the guys back from last year, Opacic and Pearson, and Pangai has been one of the class performers in this competition.
“We hope they all play NRL, but we will look after them while they are here… it’s our charter to get players to the NRL, or back to the NRL.”
Coach Adam Mogg said he was glad to be allocated Opacic and Pearson again this year, and was excited to see Pangai don red and white.
“As I have always said, Brisbane decides what’s best for their players … we’re Redcliffe and we focus on us,” Mogg said.
“We haven’t been sweating or dying over who we’re getting.”
Mogg said he was glad for “the experience of Benji”.
“But for his sake, I hope we don’t see him,” Mogg said.
“But if we do, I will definitely be finding a spot for him in our starting side.”
It is not yet clear how much game time Marshall will get with the Dolphins, as he could be with the Broncos for the first few rounds.
He is battling it out with utility Kodi Nikorima for a bench spot, but Nikorima only returned to contact training late last month following off-season shoulder surgery.
Mogg said he was “a big fan of Mosese Pangai”.
“He’s a fantastic player, excellent centre,” Mogg said.
Mogg said Gillett was on the Dolphins’ list last year, but was more a token name on the list.
“Gillett’s an Australian player and at least 10 years away from playing Queensland Cup,” Mogg said.
Former NRL prop Matt Lodge will make his comeback to rugby league on Saturday when he debuts for the Dolphins in a trial match against Sunshine Coast Falcons.
It will be his first game back since he was charged for a string of violent offences in New York in 2015.
The match is the curtain-raiser to the NRL trial between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors.
By Jorja Orreal – February 9, 2017
Article courtesy of the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald