Why “King Rat” Ben Marr is the Shute Shield’s version of NRL star “King Gutho”

By Jon Geddes

WARRINGAH Rats’ ace Ben Marr has claimed the crown of the Shute Shield’s version NRL star “King Gutho”.

The Parramatta Eels’ skipper Clint Gutherson is renowned for not only his natural talent and athleticism, but the infectious enthusiasm of his play which lifts his teammates.

And his habit of bobbing up all over the field to get into the action was another reason rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns christened him with that royal nickname. 

Those attributes are also very much trademarks of Marr’s game. And they were again on display on Saturday as “King Rat” had an instrumental role in his side’s first victory of the season, defeating Eastern Suburbs 15-13 at Narrabeen.

Playing No.10 in his third game back after a season with the Australian Sevens, Marr was fully involved and fittingly dived over for the Rats’ try with 11 minutes to go – which not only gave his side the lead for the first time but what turned out to be their winning margin.   

“We have certainly missed him over the past 12 months and having him back now is a huge boost to the group,” Warringah coach Mike Ruthven said after the game. “He’s a competitor, he’s a positive guy and that is reflected why he was captain in 2021.”


IF Marr continues to build on his current form, it is hard to imagine he would not follow other former Aussie Sevens players including Brumbies duo Corey Toole and Ben O’Donnell and Waratah Dylan Pietsch by getting an opportunity with a Super Rugby franchise.

“The goal is always to play at the highest level that you can,” Marr said.

“I just want to enjoy my footy, that is the most important thing and usually my performances corelate with that.

“At the moment I’ll focus on playing for the Ratties and if something opens up, I will jump at it.”

Marr enjoyed his time in the sevens and really benefited from being in the fulltime program. But returning home to pull on the Warringah jumper at Rat Park is something he still holds very special.    

“It’s massive, I love it down here,” he said. “It’s my family, even when I wasn’t playing last season I came down here.”


MARR admitted Saturday’s win after Warringah’s first four losses was a relief.

“The last four weeks have been tough because we have been in the games and we just fell short in a couple of areas,” he said.

“The boys just said ‘we’ve just got to keep turning up every week and putting in for each other and have fun doing it and it will eventually come’.

“We didn’t make it too easy on ourselves, but a win’s a win.

“The boys are stoked and I think we will take a lot of confidence moving forward. Now we know we can do it and win those pressure moments like we did today.”    

Coach Ruthven said it was going to take a gutsy win like they had on Saturday to shift the momentum for the team.

“I was really proud of the group, they have been working hard each week and wanting to get better and wanting to get the result that needed,” he said.

“Look, there’s plenty of little things around our footy that we still need to tighten up and improve.

“I’d like think that little bit of momentum around a win will certainly springboard us into the next couple of weeks.”

Ruthven also singled out the towering Rats secondrower Andrew Davies for his performance against Easts.

“I thought he was outstanding,” Ruthven said. “He flies under the radar a bit, but he’s a guy that you exactly know what you are going to get every week.

“He probably doesn’t get the credit for the amount of tough work he does around the field. He carried really strongly, defended well and played a big part for us.”   


THE big challenge for Warringah this Saturday is taking on competition leading Hunter Wildfires at Rat Park.

“They are riding pretty high at the moment, they are a big physical forward pack and a good set piece,” Ruthven said. “I’m equally confident around our scrum and lineout.”

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