Benji can Mar­shall troops: Locky

The Queensland Times - - NRL SPORT - — Travis Meyn

BRON­COS leg­end Dar­ren Lock­yer has called for Kodi Niko­rima to be axed to the bench, declar­ing Benji Mar­shall (pic­tured) as the half­back to out­wit Storm mae­stro Cooper Cronk.

The Bron­cos must defy a decade of Mel­bourne dom­i­nance at AAMI Park on Fri­day night if they are to trump the Storm and qual­ify for their sec­ond grand fi­nal in three years.

Mel­bourne has held a 10-year stran­gle­hold over the Bron­cos, win­ning 19 of the past 23 clashes be­tween the NRL heavy­weights fol­low­ing Brisbane’s 2006 grand fi­nal boilover.

The Bron­cos are ex­pected to be buoyed by the re­turn of cap­tain Dar­ius Boyd (ham­string) at full­back for the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal show­down.

Boyd’s re­turn means Ben­nett will likely send ei­ther Niko­rima, who played full­back in last Fri­day’s win against the Pan­thers, or Mar­shall to the bench for the sud­den-death fi­nal.

The Bron­cos have won 11 of the 12 matches Niko­rima has started at half­back this sea­son, how­ever, 267-game vet­eran Mar­shall is a bet­ter op­tion in the No.7 ac­cord­ing to Lock­yer. “I reckon you leave Benji at half­back and put Kodi back to the bench,” the 2006 premier­ship-win­ning five-eighth said.

“They need to train all week and have Kodi as a back-up full­back for Dar­ius on the bench. I think Benji de­serves to stay there. He made his tack­les and didn’t have any er­rors with the footy (against Pen­rith). His kick­ing game was solid, a few kicks could have been bet­ter, but his ex­pe­ri­ence brings com­po­sure, he isn’t over­play­ing his hand and that’s the key.”

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