BENJI Marshall admits he has no idea when he will play again as Brisbane’s big-name recruit battles to overcome a niggling Achilles injury.
Marshall, who watched from the sidelines as Brisbane opened their season with a 26-18 defeat of the Sharks last Thursday night, said even club doctors did not know when he would be cleared to return.
The 32-year-old suffered a setback to his Achilles in pre-season and the injury flared in his debut for the Broncos at last month’s NRL Nines tournament.
Marshall was confident of being fit for the premiership opener against the Sharks, but will now miss Brisbane’s derby blockbuster against the Cowboys this Friday night.
It has been a frustrating period for Marshall. The former Kiwi Test skipper is restricted to basic shuttle runs at Broncos training and is a passenger on away trips with the team.
“It’s coming along all right but I’m still in rehab,” he told The Sunday Mail.
“I honestly don’t know how long I’ll be out for — the doctors can’t even give me a time frame.
“I’m running all right, but I’ve got some tendinitis in there, so my Achilles gets sore after I run.
“Hopefully I’ll be back soon. I’d love to be back next week but it doesn’t look that way.”
Marshall’s shock lifeline from coach Wayne Bennett has polarised opinion, with many questioning how and where the premiership-winning playmaker would fit into Brisbane’s team.
Marshall said he had never been happier off the field but conceded the Broncos would eventually want their big-name import playing football.
“I’d love to get back out there, but more importantly off the field, it’s the happiest I’ve been for a long time,” he said.
“I’m enjoying being around the club with the quality of the players here, but ultimately I know I need to be playing.
“I don’t have a time frame for when I will play again. I’m not too scared about that. I do some skills with the guys but it always depends on how my Achilles pulls up.”
Queensland coach and former Broncos assistant Kevin Walters believes Marshall can still be a worthwhile signing for the club.
“Hopefully Benji gets back on the field because he can be a real asset,” Walters said.
“I don’t think he has to reinvent himself.
“If Benji just stays as himself, he can be a big asset for the Broncos. He could slot into their team anywhere. He’s capable of playing centre but I think he could also be effective off the bench.
“He’s won a premiership and captained his country so his experience is vital.”
Marshall is using that experience to mentor Broncos pivot Anthony Milford.
He believes Milford has only scratched the surface of his talent.
“Milf is up there with the best ball runners I’ve seen,” Marshall said.
“He is definitely working his way towards finding a balance in games of when to come into a game. The Broncos need him to do it a bit more, but he came up with the money play when it mattered (against the Sharks).
“When Milf backs his ability, there’s not much better in the comp. He is still learning a lot around controlling parts of the game and hopefully I can help him there.
“He is one of those instinctive players who does things so naturally. He showed (against Cronulla) how much power he has and how strong he is.
“He showed glimpses of what he can do when he controls the team.”