It was the sequence that confirmed Kiwi livewire Benji Marshall as an NRL megastar, and inspired a generation of youngsters to follow in his twinkling footsteps – and we’re reliving it for Monday Memories following news the veteran playmaker has signed a one-year deal to return to Wests Tigers in 2018.
Then just 20, Marshall’s mesmerising run to beat six Cronulla defenders and throw an audacious no-look cut-out pass to set up a try for Daniel Fitzhenry typified the flair and spirit Wests Tigers rode all the way to the unlikeliest of premiership triumphs in 2005.
World Cup and Four Nations success – the latter as captain – followed, along with top-four finishes with the Tigers in 2010-11 and a Golden Boot, yet Marshall has been one of the most maligned players of the NRL era.
Something of an enigma, his unique style has lent itself to ‘rocks or diamonds’ performances – but his status as one of the game’s greatest-ever entertainers is assured.
The influence Marshall has had on the next generation of first-grade guns – such as Shaun Johnson and Anthony Milford – is obvious.
The veteran of 255 NRL games and 27 Tests embarks on another fascinating chapter of his career in 2017, joining the Brisbane Broncos on a one-year deal. Where he fits in to Wayne Bennett’s plan remains unclear, but rugby league fans would dearly love to see a few more pieces of Marshall magic before the 31-year-old hangs up the boots for good.