Benji Marshall runs the ball during an Auckland Nines match between the Broncos and the Storm at Eden Park
Benji Marshall runs the ball during an Auckland Nines match between the Broncos and the Storm at Eden Park Anthony Au-Yeung

Broncos move all relative to Benji Marshall

RUGBY LEAGUE: He may have split his lip and strained his calf at the Auckland Nines but Benji Marshall isn't letting that bumpy introduction to the Broncos take the shine off what he describes as a dream pre-season at his new club.

The former golden boot winner is comfortable with his place low down on the pecking order in Brisbane, admitting he won't be upset if he spends the majority of 2017 playing reserve grade football for Redcliffe.

It's a different Marshall to the uber competitor we've watched dominate for well over a decade, with the 31-year-old adamant a change of scenery has been the best thing for him.

It's even brought him closer to a relative he only discovered as an adult - a distant cousin who now stands between the former golden boot winner and a shot at a starting centre berth.

The relative in question? Jordan Kahu.

"We're related!" Marshall excitedly reveals to foxsports.com.au when Kahu's name is raised.

"I think it might be his grandmother and my grandfather are brother and sister. I don't know what it is but I know we're related."

If Marshall has got the connection right it would make he and Kahu second cousins, further explaining why the 26-year-old Kiwis star has been so eager to share his excitement at being on the same field as his new teammate.

"His brother Jared used to play 20s for the Broncos back in the day and I remember playing up in Brisbane and Jared came up to me and said 'we're related'," Marshall recalls.

"And then I asked my family and they said, 'yeah, yeah, we're related to them'.

"I can't believe it mate, you see a guy like Jordan, we played together the other day at the Nines and he's tweeting: 'Oh my god, I got to play at the Nines with Benji Marshall', which is like, 'who gives a s***, really'.

Humbling and potentially awkward, with left centre being one position identified as a good fit for the veteran recruit.

Jordan Kahu passes the ball during the Brisbane Broncos training session
Jordan Kahu passes the ball during the Brisbane Broncos training session DAVE HUNT

Kahu has also put his hand up for the role vacated by the retirement of Jack Reed and has firmed as the favourite to fill it after an outstanding Auckland Nines campaign.

"I think the thing for Jordy is he's really come on in leaps and bounds in his leadership and becoming a bit more of a senior player," Marshall said.

"Obviously playing for New Zealand's helped him but not only that, if he's fit he'll be our first choice goalkicker so there's no danger of him missing out on a spot.

"If he's fit he'll be playing first grade, I'll be the one playing Q Cup and that doesn't bother me."

Marshall has trained at centre, as a back up in the halves and even spent some time at hooker since arriving in Brisbane.

It points to a bench utility role that has been adequately filled by young gun Kodi Nikorima over the past two seasons.

Marshall says he's ready for that kind of reduced role and is revelling away from the spotlight that comes with a playmaking role at NRL level.

"Playing halfback at the Dragons obviously there's going to be a lot of pressure around that and the results, if you win or lose you get the credit or the blame," Marshall said.

"I guess when you go to a team like the Broncos where I'm not in that position anymore the pressure's not so much on me to have to do those things.

"I've just been able to relax and just cruise. There's no pressure.

"Wayne told me that there's no need for me to be the man there because we've got 10 players there already who are already on top of the game.

"That's helped me to relax and not feel like there's any pressure on me to have to do anything, I can just enjoy myself, and to be honest I'm really enjoying it and I'm happy."

News Corp Australia


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