Bundy boy makes long awaited NRL debut

Bundaberg's Ben Marschke with his friends and family after making his debut for the Roosters. 233606 Picture: SHANE JONES

By Shane Jones

Ben Marschke and his family all knew he had what it takes to make the NRL.

The family just needed the rest of the world to find out.

And now Ben has his chance to shine.

The Bundaberg-born Sydney Rooster made his debut last Sunday, being named on the bench to take on the New Zealand Warriors.

The 23-year-old became the 1200th Rooster to make his debut.

“We always backed them (Jesse and Ben) a million percent to get them NRL ready,” Ben’s father Rick said.

“He worked hard but it doesn’t pay off without a little bit of luck.

“We pray that he can shine and everything can happen.”

Rick and his family moved to Sydney from Bundaberg in 2015 when his sons Jesse and Ben both signed for the Sydney Roosters.

Both were The Waves juniors as youngsters before playing for Easts in A-grade and under-18.

The duo also represented Bundaberg and Wide Bay, and went to school at Shalom College, before being recognised by the Roosters.

What would follow would be an incredible journey to get to Ben debuting on Sunday.

Both would play in under-20s for the Roosters, after signing a three year deal, with Ben playing during the season where the team won the premiership in 2016.

Jesse ended up in the winning team.

Both then moved to Newtown Jets in the New South Wales Cup, to further their career, before both moved to the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2020.

Ben would play with the Bulldogs at the NRL 9s event and at that stage was looked at to make his NRL debut, before it didn’t happen and he fell down the pecking order with his brother.

Both then moved to the Roosters again, where both moved to as juniors, to play for North Sydney in the New South Wales Cup.

Ben, who plays hooker, then got put into the limelight following the injuries to Lachlan Lam, Luke Keary and Jake Friend.

His time had come.

“I love this story,” Rick said.

“Robbo (Trent Robinson) said it is a pretty rare opportunity for a man that is an outsider.

“It’s a beautiful opportunity that has happened.

“Ben has got his opportunity, I hope he explodes.

“It’s a miracle.”

Ben played 17 minutes and made 12 tackles as he provided valuable assistance to the team.

He has been named on the bench again for this week’s clash against Cronulla.

And Rick knows his other son Jesse has the chance to get there if he keeps persisting.

“Jesse is a beautiful kid, so much love for his brother,” he said.

“We’re all super proud.

“All Ben’s friends and family were at the game, making signs and cheering him on.

“We could hear it from the other side, it was amazing.”

Rick said at times both wanted to give it away, with how hard the game is, but both didn’t and now it is paying off

For Ben the game was a dream come true.

“It was an unbelievable experience, it’s something you dream about as a kid,” he told the Sydney Roosters.

“I got called into the squad on Wednesday, so I had two good runs with the full-time boys and then the 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.”

Sydney will face Cronulla at 7.35pm tomorrow with his brother Jesse named for the North Sydney Bears on the bench this week to take on Newtown.