A childhood dream to pull on the Red, White and Blue is now a reality for 23-year-old Ben Marschke, who became Sydney Rooster #1200 in the side's emphatic win against the Warriors at the SCG on Easter Monday.
In a whirlwind week that saw him brought into the full-time squad and having trained just twice alongside the likes of James Tedesco and the Morris boys, a thrilled Marshke recalled his memorable week.
“It was an unbelievable experience, it’s something you dream about as a kid," he said.
“I got called into the squad on Wednesday, so I had two good runs with the full-time boys and then Captain’s Run on Saturday, then we were into it.
“I enjoyed the whole process from the start of the week and leading up to it. It’s an unreal feeling."
Round 5 Media - Ben Marschke
Taking the 'long' route to first-grade, the tough hooker arrived in Bondi in 2015 alongside twin brother Jesse, with the two progressing to the NYC 20s squad that took out the Premiership in an emphatic victory over the Penrith Panthers.
Although a number of his teammates from that day including Nat Butcher, Victor Radley and Sitili Tupouniua made the 'traditional' progression through the grades, Marschke's route was anything but that, with a brief move to the Bulldogs before coming back to the Roosters, a place he considers home.
“I first came down to Sydney to play SG Ball," Marshke explained.
"A lot of the boys from there went up to 20s (National Youth Competition) as well, and I played there with some of the current first-grade boys. I finished up there, moved on and came back home.
It feels unreal. It’s such a historical Club to be a part of and to be in the same team as some of your mates and your idols at the same time is unreal.Ben Marschke Rooster #1200
“On Saturday Trent (Robinson) came up to me and told me I’d be named on the bench. It was such a surreal feeling.
“I called mum and then dad straight after, they sort of told the whole family. The old man was speechless, same with mum as you would be. It’s been a long time coming, I’m a bit older as well and I think it was a sign of relief really."
Now fresh from his first game for the famous Tricolours in a busy seventeen-minute stint that saw him make twelve tackles, Marschke said the occasion was made all the better with the raucous support of family and friends and the chance to run out alongside close mate Victor Radley.
“I think I trumped him by twenty people I reckon,” he laughed when comparing the support on debut.
“All my friends and family came out, and they were nice and loud as well. I’m really grateful they came out and showed their support.
“It’s such a historical Club to be a part of and to be in the same team as some of your mates and your idols at the same time is unreal.
Round 4 Match Highlights: Roosters v Warriors
“You can’t really put the words into place but to come out with him (Radley) on debut and with him coming back from injury was an amazing feeling. It would have been good to run out by myself but to run out with him was pretty special."
Radley himself had plenty of praise for his new NRL teammate after the match as well, which in turn made his return to the field even more memorable.
“We’ve been best mates for about six years," Radley said.
"We’ve spent almost every day together, spent holidays together so to come back from injury on the same day as his debut was really special."
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