Few are better equipped to reflect on what Benji Marshall has offered to rugby league and Wests Tigers than Robbie Farah.
Having debuted together for the club back in 2003, Farah and Marshall's journeys have been far from identical and certainly not always smooth, but they will end at the same point with the pair in the Wests Tigers colours once again.
Of Benji Marshall's 299 career games to date, no player has been there more than Farah, with their on-field relationship certainly reflecting their bond off it too.
Likely to bring up his 300-game milestone in the coming weeks as well, Farah was full of praise for the Wests Tigers five-eighth as he fronted the media today sporting a #Benji300 t-shirt, reflecting on the impact he'd had to his rugby league career.
“These sort of milestones certainly kind of make you reflect a bit," Farah said.
"I said to him the other day that sometimes you take it for granted that I've had the opportunity to play alongside Benji.
"One day, long after I’ve retired, I’ll be telling everyone I was fortunate enough to play my career alongside one of the greats in Benji Marshall.
“It’s just awesome to see him back here and reaching this milestone.
"I don’t think he probably would’ve imagined he'd make it 300 with all the setbacks he had and the injuries earlier in his career, so to bring up his 300th game at this club — the club he loves so much — is pretty special."
Benji's change throughout the years
“It’s almost like he’s had two separate careers," Farah reflected.
"There was the young, flamboyant Benji: the kids on the street were all practising the Benji step and he had that cult following when he was younger.
"So many Wests Tigers fans started following this club because of Benji and now he’s developed into a real leader at this club. He's very controlled and I think he understands his game a lot better now. He gets his limitations and he plays well within those and he's been a great leader for us."
“It’s not as flamboyant these days but what he’s doing is just as good if not better in terms of his control of the game and the team.
“The thing about Benji, if you ask him, is that he probably wasn’t a natural leader when he was younger but now he really is a really strong leader within this club. The boys look up to him and hang off every word he says — the standards he sets at training day in and day out is pretty inspirational, to be honest.
The connection with Benji
“There’s no doubt he’s helped my game," Farah said. "We arrived here around the same time and we just had this instant connection and we understood each other.
“We didn’t even have to call plays, he understood what I was doing and I knew what he was doing. We just had that connection out on the field and that’s definitely something that’s helped me throughout my career. It’s definitely made me a lot more comfortable having him alongside me for most of it.”
Farah's favourite Benji moment/s
“He’s had some pretty special moments and it’s hard to pinpoint one," Farah laughed. "They're moments that will go down in the folklore of our game, but the thing is he continues to do it week-in and week-out which is incredible.
“Everyone will probably think I’ll say the flick pass in 05 but that was all Pat Richards — he doesn’t get enough credit for that, for catching it.
“For me there was probably two: the try he set up at Shark Park where he went left foot step, left foot step, left foot step and then the no look pass to Patty.
“The other one was against Parra: I remember being on the field and he threw the flick pass around his back and I remember just shaking my head like thinking about what I just saw. It was the freakiest bit of play I've seen on a footy field."
The future for Benji
“He’s playing good enough so I think it’s up to him if he plays on," Farah said.
"There's no doubt that he if he wants to play that he could go again — age is just a barrier and if you’re going off the way he’s playing then there’s no reason why not.
“I’m not even thinking about that [retirement] — we just want to celebrate Benji and his career and what he’s done for this club and for the game.
“We want to make sure we celebrate it with a win. It’s a pretty important game for us and we’re getting down to the business end of the season. We’re within touching distance of the top eight and we want to keep it that way.”