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How the Roosters looked to sign Benji before the Tigers’ 2005 premiership

Marshall told the Herald he was aware of the Roosters talks, but it would have taken an eye-popping offer to persuade him to leave the Tigers.

“My manager met with Nick at the time, but I never wanted to leave the Tigers,” Marshall said.

Benji Marshall and Wayne Bennett stop for one of their many chats at a soggy Redfrern this week.

Benji Marshall and Wayne Bennett stop for one of their many chats at a soggy Redfrern this week.Credit:South Sydney Rabbitohs

“There was a conversation going on in the background, but I was never a part of those convos. This is going way back.

“I was loving life at the Tigers. It was too good. At the time, I would have never gone.”

Marshall re-signed with the Tigers, and Politis would have no doubt found it tough watching Marshall go on to become a fully-fledged star.

And it will become even tougher viewing should Marshall inspire Souths to victory over their bitter neighbours at Stadium Australia on Friday.

Benji Marshall training in a Tigers shirt with Keebra Park back in 2003.

Benji Marshall training in a Tigers shirt with Keebra Park back in 2003.Credit:Fairfax Media

Marshall’s overall career record against the Roosters is hardly flash, with eight wins and 17 losses.

But even after joining the Rabbitohs, Marshall said he was taking a back seat in that area given he could never bring himself to “hate” another team.

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“I don’t play on emotion, I don’t hate teams, it’s not my go – I don’t even know what that Book of Feuds is,” he said, in reference to owner Russell Crowe’s motivational passages.

Marshall’s teammates responded to his chilled attitude with a smile. Souths teammate Damien Cook said Marshall would notice the Roosters battle was “just a little bit different to your average round game” while Cameron Murray, a proud Souths junior, added: “It will be good for him to get a little bit of a taste of the rivalry, see what it’s all about, to feel the passion that we bring from this area and this side of the city. I’m happy Benji’s in the red and green.”

Marshall, 36, has always admired the Roosters and hailed their own veteran, 34-year-old Brett Morris, “the best winger in the game”.

“He’s a competitor and a footy player and he does his job,” Marshall said. “I’ve always admired what he has done on the field.

“People judge you on your age, but they don’t understand if you can still do it, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Look at Wayne [Bennett], he’s the oldest man in history but still going and loving it – if you’ve got the love and want to do it, why not.”

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