NRL veteran Benji Marshall has explained why he had some harsh words for Damien Cook last week.

NRL veteran Benji Marshall has explained why he had to give new teammate Damien Cook a spray at training last week.

“He’s a dribbler, Cooky,” Marshall said with a laugh.

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“The connections that you have, you have to work on at training – and Cooky gives me so much stick during the week, I needed him to know that his passes were shit,” he told Fox Sports News on Tuesday.

Few players in the NRL have a higher pedigree than the Blues and Kangaroos hooker, but Marshall said in order to succeed, nobody can be above criticism.

“Part of being in a team is people have just got to take it the right way. It’s not about putting people on show and that, it’s just an expectation that you have for each other.

“And you know what? I got a reaction. Because he was out there practicing his passing at the end of training.”

Marshall said that things like that were beneficial to young players in the squad, if even a player of the calibre of Cook was putting in extras after training.

The 35-year-old former Tiger provides some valuable experience for the Bunnies, who will be looking 2021 as a premiership or bust year.

If Marshall were to win the competition this year, he would break former teammate Lote Tuqiri’s record as the player with the most years between grand final victories.

Tuqiri won with the Broncos in 2000, and then in 2014 with the Bunnies.

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Marshall revealed that it wasn’t long after his 2005 triumph with the Wests Tigers that he thought he’d never play again.

“If you asked me when I was 23 after five shoulder re-constructions, I was probably looking like not even playing 100 games,” he said.

Now he’s in season 19 with more than 300 first grade appearances under his belt.

“I’m pretty proud I get this opportunity again,” he said, noting that he still has the fire to compete and improve.

“When you turn up to training in the NRL, if you can’t go every day trying to learn something new, or once you’ve think you’ve figured it out or mastered it, that’s when you’ve got a bit of dramas.

“I’m just a sponge that loves taking in information. When I play, I like to offer everything I can or what I know.”

Marshall said he felt ‘pretty good’ after the All Stars game as his competitiveness took over and he stayed on the field for well beyond the 40 minutes he was supposed to play.

“I don’t have anything to prove, I just wanted to win. Representing our people and our culture it was something special for me, and playing with my brother for the first time was pretty exciting.”

With Cody Walker likely to miss games with State of Origin duty and several Rabbitohs forwards capable of playing 80 minutes, Marshall looks a lock for the 14 jumper at his new club, where Wayne Bennett will obviously have faith in him to start when needed.

Marshall said he was grateful to still have a career at his 36th birthday – which he celebrates in a few days.

“There wasn’t going to be a [career at my] 29th at one stage – you just don’t know. As I do get older, everyone seems to start telling me I should stop playing, but I don’t care what people say.”

“At the end of the day if you feel like mentally you’ve still got it and physically you can still offer a lot of things, then go for it. I’m still here chasing my dreams at 36.”

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