Marshall takes Hunt under wing at Brisbane

A surprise Brisbane debut has only made Benji Marshall hungry for more NRL action.

But the veteran playmaker believes some of his best work may be done off the field, helping Ben Hunt block the “outside noise” since his lucrative Dragons deal.

Marshall was a shock last minute Broncos bench addition in last round’s 14-12 loss at Melbourne after Tavita Pangai Jr (ankle) withdrew.

Marshall only played 10 minutes – at lock – off the bench but it was enough to make the former Kiwi captain want more.

“It was great to get a run,” the 32-year-old told AAP. “If Wayne (Bennett) wants me to keep playing as a utility so be it.”

Marshall believes he can also make an impact on the sidelines as a mentor after witnessing the reaction to Hunt’s lucrative Dragons move.

The ex-Dragons half said Hunt has been under enormous scrutiny after signing a five-year St George Illawarra contract from 2018 that will make the Brisbane No.7 one of the game’s highest-paid players.

He bristled at speculation that Hunt may become distracted by the deal and not be committed to the Broncos in 2017.

“If you see the little efforts he does that other halves aren’t doing, putting his body on the line for the team – that’s not a guy who is worrying about what is happening next year,” Marshall said.

“From a players’ point of view we have faith in Ben that he is with us.”

Marshall, on a one-year deal with the Broncos, said he hoped to bring the best out of Hunt and halves partner Anthony Milford, who have not clicked since Brisbane’s run to the 2015 grand final.

“It is something I pride myself on, being a mentor,” Marshall, in his 15th NRL season, said.

“And these guys get a lot of outside noise on the way they play. I try and help them block those things out.

“I reinforce that…if they put the work in at training it will show on the field.”

Coach Bennett raised eyebrows when he claimed Hunt “wasn’t comfortable” taking an extra-time field goal because of the pressure after their round two extra-time loss to North Queensland.

While Hunt admitted his halves pairing with Milford was a “bit off”, he backed them to step up in future clutch plays.

“We’ve practised many field goals at training but once you get in the moment things change, there is pressure – we just weren’t lucky enough (against North Queensland),” Hunt said.

“But I definitely think we are good enough to get the job done.”

Hunt admitted he would have a target on his back no matter what he did this season after the Dragons deal.

“Probably,” he said. “There are definitely people out there who are going to keep an eye on it more than others but I just care what my coach and teammates think.”

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