VIDEO: Benji winds back clock in Broncos' triumph
IT'S hard to believe Benji Marshall was virtually unwanted in the pre-season.
As history shows, Wayne Bennett took a punt, and that gamble has started to pay dividends as the former New Zealand international wound back the clock to play a starring role in Brisbane's entertaining 30-20 win over Canberra on Saturday night.
Without Darius Boyd (thumb), Anthony Milford (shoulder) and Korbin Sims (groin), Marshall, was at his scheming best, setting up two tries and having a hand in another as the Broncos edged out the Raiders in frosty three-degree temperatures.
Marshall's starting halves partner Kodi Nikorima was hooked after 33 minutes which opened the door for Ben Hunt to show his wares two weeks after being dropped to reserve grade.
The St George Illawarra-bound playmaker made the most of his chance, taking the defensive line on as he too set up two tries for the visitors in front of 15,652 fans at GIO Stadium.
The Raiders thought they'd bagged their first try in the fourth minute, but a forward pass from Blake Austin was called back.
The Broncos immediately made the home side pay, charging down field with Marshall putting a rampaging Corey Oates over.
Off the back of a Broncos penalty, the Green Machine didn't have to wait long to hit back when Austin and Jack Wighton combined in a classy play which resulted in the fullback diving over under the sticks.
Ill-discipline and poor defence continued to cost the Broncos and the Raiders soon had their second when skipper Jarrod Croker fended his way over the tryline.
Marshall was back in the action in the 22nd minute when a brilliant pass from Kiwi playmaker put Alex Glenn through a hole in the Raiders' defence.
Hunt was thrown into the game late in the first half and one of his first touches was a shocker with a pass going to ground in the 34th minute.
Rookie Raiders flyer Nick Cotric scooped up the ball and sprinted 82 metres to touch down in the corner.
A Jordan Kahu penalty goal on the stroke of halftime saw the Raiders go into the break 14-12.
The Broncos snatched the lead in the 50th minute with Marshall and Hunt combining beautifully to put Matt Gillett over.
They further extended their lead eight minutes later when a pass from Andrew McCullough found Joe Ofahengaue who crashed in next to the posts.
A 68th minute try to Raiders centre Joey Leilua made it a four-point ball game, before Hunt set up Gillett's second in the dying moments to seal the win.