Kiwis recall goal for reborn Benji
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.