Wayne Bennett hopes Benji M will stay despite salary hit

WAYNE Bennett has appealed for Benji Marshall not to quit the Broncos as the imminent $1 million retention of Jordan Kahu threatens to force the playmaker out of Red Hill.

The Broncos are running out of salary-cap space to accommodate Marshall, with Kahu to become the 10th top-liner to commit to Brisbane when he formally signs a multi-year deal this week.

The Broncos cannot increase Marshall’s $100,000 salary for next season, prompting the 32-year-old to weigh up other options.

Marshall’s manager Mario Tartak is overseas and a career swan song in the UK Super League is a possibility.

But Bennett has been so impressed with Marshall’s attitude and popularity at the Broncos that he urged the classy playmaker to stay on and continue his mentoring role with Anthony Milford.

“I’m really hoping Benji will stay,” Bennett said.

“There is room for Benji but we just can’t pay him what he is worth on the market. We have to put our money into places with our younger players and we can’t afford to lose them. We couldn’t afford to lose Kodi (Nikorima), Jordan (Kahu) and Anthony Milford.

“We have just about signed all the guys that we need … it remains to be seen what Benji will do.”

While Marshall’s future is uncertain, Brisbane chief executive Paul White confirmed Kahu is staying a Bronco. “We are close to making an announcement with Jordan,” he said.