Signing shock as Benji finds a new home
Benji Marshall is on the brink of securing an NRL lifeline to play under Wayne Bennett at South Sydney.
The one-season deal is still waiting on salary cap approval from the NRL, however it is anticipated Marshall will be training with the Rabbitohs by Friday, ahead of the 2021 season.
It comes after the man rated the greatest Wests Tiger in the joint venture's history, was left without a club for the 2021 season.
Marshall has been on the lookout for a new club ever since the Wests Tigers decided against re-signing the 35-year-old five-eighth.
It is understood Marshall initiated contact with Bennett in recent weeks, and the supercoach seized on the opportunity to bring his experience to what is already shaping up as a premiership-ready roster.
Bennett has had a long association with Marshall, having previously handed him an earlier lifeline at Brisbane when he was struggling to find a club back in 2017. They also forged a close bond during their time together with the New Zealand national team and NRL All Stars.
Marshall has a good working relationship with Rabbitohs assistant coaches Jason Demetriou and Ben Hornby from their time together at Brisbane and St George Illawarra respectively.
With Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds already firmly entrenched as the Rabbitohs' starting halves pairing, Marshall will have his work cut out to make the starting team.
However, he proved at his time at the Broncos - playing under Bennett - that his valuable experience should not be underestimated.
It's expected Marshall will also be relied upon to use that experience to help develop young halves Dean Hawkins and Troy Dargan.
It was speculated Marshall was close to securing a deal to join his brother, Jeremy Marshall-King, at Canterbury, but that fell through.
The NRL is yet to sign off on the deal, but Souths are hoping there will be no complications to stop the 324-game veteran from setting up a potential farewell finish for the Tigers' 2005 grand final hero, given the huge support the Rabbitohs are receiving.
The Rabbitohs will be Marshall's fourth NRL club after two stints at the Tigers and spells at the Dragons and Broncos.
Marshall knocked back a rich deal to switch to the UK Super League, preferring to remain in Australia in the hope of another NRL deal.
Marshall is the second veteran to belatedly sign with South Sydney, after the Rabbitohs secured former Penrith winger Josh Mansour on a two-year deal.
Mansour, 30, was told only days after Penrith's grand final loss to Melbourne last year that his services were no longer required at the Panthers, as they looked for a way to get exciting young winger Charlie Staines into the starting line-up.
But the Panthers discard has found a home at the Rabbitohs, who Bennett said "got lucky" in landing the former Origin flyer.
"We just got lucky there, he became available and the opportunity came up to grab him so we've done that," Bennett said.
The Rabbitohs locked in Mansour after releasing Queensland State of Origin back Corey Allan to Canterbury.
South Sydney football boss Mark Ellison said Allan's move to the Bulldogs would allow him to play in his preferred spot at fullback - a position he concedes was not available at Souths with Latrell Mitchell set to claim the No. 1 jersey for 2021.
"Corey has done a great job for our club over the past two seasons and he goes to his new club knowing he has the respect of everyone at Souths," Ellison said.
Originally published as Signing shock as Benji finds a new home