Marshall backs Roberts move to Souths

James Roberts continues to be linked to Souths and Benji Marshall says he'd like to see the move.
James Roberts continues to be linked to Souths and Benji Marshall says he'd like to see the move.

Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall said South Sydney should be given $1.5 million in salary cap relief to compensate the shock retirement of Greg Inglis, and then named his replacement.

Marshall wants to see NRL supercoach Wayne Bennett reunite with NSW Blues and Brisbane centre James Roberts at the Rabbitohs.

Roberts' ill-discipline has seen him fall out of favour with Broncos coach Anthony Seibold and the speedster has not been picked since round three, but he's also nursing an Achilles injury.

The Blues flyer signed his current four-year deal under former coach Bennett and although contracted until 2021, Roberts could be released and return to Souths where his career began.

Marshall has plenty of respect for Bennett who resurrected the former New Zealand skipper's career in 2017 with a one-year contract and believes he can do the same for Roberts.

"I have no problem with it (salary cap relief). If he's not there playing, why can't they spend that money and get someone else? And I'd be going after James Roberts," Marshall told NRL 360.

"Wayne, for a starter, took Jimmy after he had a few issues and pulled him back on the straight and narrow and I just feel like his relationship with Wayne could get that (deal) over the line."

Broncos legend Gorden Tallis said he wouldn't be surprised to see Roberts return to Bennett's high-flying Rabbitohs this season.

"Stranger things have happened. Did you think Wayne Bennett was going to be released from the Broncos?" Tallis said.

"Rugby league tosses up so many curve balls and you just don't know,"

"That's where young James started his career and sometimes where there is smoke there is fire and they need to fill (Inglis') shoes."

Tallis suggested Bennett could wait until the off-season and make a play at Sydney Roosters sensation Latrell Mitchell, while Marshall drew a line through former NRL superstar Israel Folau.

The NRL aren't expected to make a decision on South Sydney's cap situation well beyond the end of this week, as they weigh up what of Inglis' salary must be included.

The league could opt to make Souths include the centre's full originally proposed salary, his new earnings from off-field roles or just what has already been paid to him since November 1 in their cap.

Rabbitohs players this week nominated Braidon Burns as the talent who could replace Inglis in the long-term, given the 22-year-old's glittery start to the season before he injured his ankle.

Meanwhile hooker Damien Cook - who played with Roberts for NSW last year - said the centre could be a handy asset.

"He would be a good fit anywhere," Cook said.

"James is a great player and obviously a representative player as well. He's pretty fast as well, so you wouldn't mind having that in the backline."

Australian Associated Press