Benji Marshall to the Broncos: Wayne Bennett offers NRL lifeline to former Kiwi Test star

WAYNE Bennett has guaranteed Ben Hunt’s future at the Broncos in the wake of his shock decision to offer Benji Marshall an NRL lifeline.

Bennett is in discussions with Marshall about the prospect of the former Kiwi Test star joining the Broncos for a one-year swan song.

The revelations fuelled rumours Hunt could be squeezed out of Red Hill to link with ex-Broncos five-eighth Corey Norman at Parramatta.

In England preparing for the upcoming Four Nations tournament, Bennett has quashed speculation Hunt could be forced out of Brisbane.

“If Benji comes to the Broncos, and that is still an if, he will not be replacing Ben Hunt or Anthony Milford,” Bennett told The Courier-Mail.

“I am very happy with both those players and they are part of our long-term future.”

Bennett worked closely with Marshall during his tenure as an assistant coach in the New Zealand set-up.

He is an unabashed fan of 31-year-old’s freakish talent, but would not use him in the No. 7 jersey like the Dragons did during his turbulent three-season stint at St George-Illawarra.

“If Benji did come, I would not consider him as a halfback and he does not want to play in that position,” Bennett said.

“His game is not suited to halfback. He can play centre and fullback besides five-eighth.”

Bennett has carefully been adding to his 2017 roster with cut-price recruits.

He has snared experienced Titans winger David Mead and boosted his centre stocks with Townsville duo Moses Pangai and Tautau Moga.

Prop Mitchell Dodds is returning to the club and the premiership-winning Marshall will bring 255 games of NRL experience.

“In this case, you have to back the views of the coach,” said Broncos legend Darren Lockyer.

“Wayne has worked with Benji before in the New Zealand set-up during the World Cup. The coach has been around long enough to know what the team needs and doesn’t need.

“Benji’s experience could be an asset. With Milford and Hunt there, they are exciting talents but they don’t have the old head on them that Benji does.

“If he potentially comes into the squad, he would provide experience and that could help the squad.”

Marshall would bring valuable depth to Brisbane’s playmaking stocks if Milford makes his State of Origin debut next season alongside fullback Darius Boyd.