Benji Marshall stumbled into rugby league
Wests Tigers icon Benji Marshall is one of the most famous rugby league players this century, but the Kiwi star only stumbled into the game on a school excursion as a teenager.
Marshall, who plays his 300th NRL game on Sunday, revealed he hadn't played rugby league until travelling from New Zealand to the Gold Coast as 15-year-old as part of a high school subject.
The 34-year-old debuted in 2003 before leading the Tigers to the joint venture club's maiden NRL premiership in 2005.
Marshall said he took a subject to get out of his small town. The move inadvertently led to one of the most exciting NRL careers in recent history.
"I took tourism as a subject in high school because I wanted to get out of New Zealand," Marshall said on NRL 360.
"We went and visited a school called Keebra Park on the Gold Coast and they said 'Do any of you guys play rugby league' and I said I played touch.
"They said, 'Would you like to have a trial, we're playing the Canberra SG Ball side'. I'd never played but we had this trial and brained the Canberra SG Ball side and they offered us back on scholarship.
"It just so happened the school was linked to the Wests Tigers and (coach) Tim Sheens identified me from there.
"Tim Sheens saw things in me that other people thought was weird and uncanny and they didn't like the way I played. The side steps, the flick passes, I was doing chip and chases at school and he encouraged me throughout my junior years to put those into play."
Marshall's unique style saw him earn international honours, before his flick pass to Pat Richards in the 2005 grand final etched his name into rugby league folklore.
But the veteran admits he has struggled with the attention over the years.
"It's a little bit embarrassing because I'm still playing with some guys that say (they looked up to me) and I get a little bit embarrassed," Marshall said.
"But when I look back at those things and what I've achieved in the game it's pretty special and humbling. But it means more to my family, which gets me.
"The week after winning in '05 would be the big one. Just seeing guys like Mark O'Neill and John Skandalis, stalwarts of the club, holding up the trophy was special to me.
"Also seeing how much it meant to the fans, it made people's dreams come true and for me that was big."
The Tigers face Parramatta on Sunday.
© AAP 2019