Sibling rivalry the sub-plot as Marshalls go head to head
By Christian Nicolussi 24 May 2018 — 4:19pm
The kid on the left wearing the Wests Tigers T-shirt with some black, white and orange supporters’ paint on his left arm will never forget being in the ANZ Stadium sheds after big brother Benji Marshall helped deliver the joint venture their first title. Thirteen years on, Jeremy Marshall-King will now get the chance to lock horns with his sibling when Canterbury and the Tigers meet at the very same venue. Marshall-King was only nine years of age when Benji created league folklore with his game-changing flick pass against North Queensland. "I was there that day with my other brother [Jordan]. I remember running around the field with them,’’ Marshall-King said on Thursday. "He was over the moon. We were so happy for him. We got photos taken. We only came up to his knees. "We’ve been texting each other this week, but he’s said ‘you do your job and I’ll do mine’. He’s been good. For the age he is , he’s still going well and his legs are going good. “He’s still got it, he’s definitely still got it, and I reckon he’s still got a lot [of football] in him.”
Marshall-King recalls the games of backyard footy. He always pretended to be Jonah Lomu because of his love of rugby.
“And ‘Benj’ … he was just him,” Marshall-King said. Marshall is a marketer’s dream and when the Tigers lured him home this season, they knew they would get bang for their buck on the field but more importantly off it. Marshall-King, 11 years Benji’s junior, is much more reserved. By his own admission, Marshall-King says: “I’m the quiet brother, I’m not that good at speaking, he’s much louder than me”. They have different fathers but Marshall-King dislikes the term “half-brothers”.
To prove how close the pair are Benji watched Marshall-King make his debut for the Tigers in round 26 last year at Leichhardt Oval and then joined in an impromptu haka to celebrate his younger brother’s first game. He also encouraged Marshall-King to leave the Tigers - and skip the chance for them to play together in the NRL - because he knew better opportunities awaited at Belmore. Marshall-King has played every game this year for Canterbury, where he was shifted from the halves and has now made hooker his own. Possessing a wicked step like Benji, he is also capable of putting on big shots - and surviving them - just like he did when he bounced straight up after a monster Dean Whare hit last month.
That potential shot of the season at Panthers Stadium was talked about for weeks, with Marshall-King admitting adrenaline helped him quickly get back on his feet but that he could no longer watch the replay. The Marshalls match-up is one of several sub-plots leading into Sunday’s game, with former Tigers captain Aaron Woods to run out against his club while Canterbury’s favourite son Josh Reynolds will return from injury for the Tigers. “It would have been nice to stay with him but he said ‘do what’s best for you, there’s an opportunity there for you’ and I’m glad I made the change,” Marshall-King said.
"I’ve played every game and it’s been a great start. "After games we’ll text each other and I’ll ask him what he reckons I need to work on. “When I was in the halves he’d tell me to run more and take on the line. Now at hooker [he says] to run more out of dummy-half whe the markers are down.” Marshall-King said he had never felt pressured to live up to his brother’s reputation and at only 22 is happy to “make my own name”.