Ki­wis re­call goal for re­born Benji

Sunday News - - LEAGUE - DAVID LONG

AF­TER kick­ing the win­ning field goal for Wests Tigers against the Storm, Benji Mar­shall said he’ll never give up on play­ing for the Ki­wis.

The 33-year-old has been in sen­sa­tional form this sea­son, re­turn­ing to the club where he had his great­est suc­cess, and he pro­duced the piv­otal mo­ment in the game at Mt Smart Sta­dium by nail­ing a field goal five min­utes from time, for an 11-10 win over the reign­ing pre­miers.

Not that there’s a Ki­wis coach or se­lec­tor at the mo­ment, but Mar­shall has been play­ing the type of footy that could ar­guably put him ahead off Kieran Fo­ran for the Den­ver test against Eng­land in June.

Mar­shall was snubbed by Stephen Kear­ney and David Kid­well, but he says the dream to wear black and white again lives on.

‘‘To be hon­est, I’ve never made my­self not avail­able, I’ll al­ways be avail­able,’’ Mar­shall said af­ter last night’s game. ‘‘I’d lost hope the last cou­ple of years, but I’m just en­joy­ing be­ing home at the Tigers, and I’m en­joy­ing hav­ing wins and play­ing footy.

‘‘I feel like when I’m do­ing that, I seem to get the best out of my­self, so I’ll keep do­ing that and if it hap­pens, it hap­pens, and if it doesn’t then there’s noth­ing dif­fer­ent to the last few years.’’

Mar­shall’s field goal against the Storm was hit su­perbly. He looked com­fort­able go­ing through his rou­tine and it never looked like miss­ing.

‘‘It was the op­por­tu­nity in the set re­ally,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a 20-me­tre tap and seven tack­les.

‘‘The rule of thumb is if it’s on the left side of the post then it’s my one, and if it’s on the right side then Luke [Brooks] takes it.

‘‘Luke nailed one a cou­ple of weeks ago from that side and it was my turn to step up and thank­fully I struck it well.

‘‘When you prac­tice it, you try to do it the same ev­ery time and I was think­ing head down, watch the ball and kick through it, and it GETTY IMAGES went through.’’ Mar­shall is be­lieved to be on just $200,000 to play for the Tigers this year, but for him the money isn’t im­por­tant, it’s about be­ing back at the club that’s played such an im­por­tant part in his life.

‘‘It’s good to get wins, but I GETTY IMAGES didn’t think I played that good to­day to be hon­est,’’ he said.

‘‘A cou­ple of things were good, but there were a few things I wasn’t happy with.

‘‘I re­ally thought Brooksy took con­trol of the game for us to­day.

‘‘When I felt like I was a bit off, he re­ally took over and played the role I thought I was play­ing the last cou­ple of weeks.

‘‘He was a big rea­son why we won tonight.’’

There were huge cheers in­side the sold-out Mt Smart Sta­dium when Mar­shall kicked the win­ner and he joked that he hadn’t re­ceived that kind of re­cep­tion on this ground be­fore.

‘‘It’s quite weird com­ing to New Zealand and hav­ing sup­port,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m used to play­ing the War­riors here and get­ting booed.

‘‘So it was nice to get a few cheers and I think 65 per cent of our team are from New Zealand, so it is pretty much like a home game for us.

‘‘The boys have been catch­ing up with fam­ily for the last cou­ple of days, so it’s a good feel­ing.’’

Tigers tal­is­man Benji Mar­shall kicks the win­ning field goal against the Storm last night.

Storm cap­tain Cameron Smith di­rects play.

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