Benji still keen on the Kiwis

first_imgAfter establishing himself as arguably the form New Zealander of the NRL during the opening six rounds, the Wests Tigers’ No.6 is still dreaming of ending his six-year exile from the national set-up.On form, he is undoubtedly the leading contender to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves for the mid-year Denver Test against England and has consistently out- pointed the other leading contenders.Kieran Foran has shown glimpses for new club Canterbury but is yet to hit his straps, Brisbane’s Kodi Nikorima appears down on confidence, while Te Maire Martin is toiling off the bench in North Queensland.Much will depend on who takes over from ex-coach David Kidwell, who had chosen not to reapply for his position after New Zealand’s World Cup failure, and whether the new mentor wants immediate success or has an eye on the future.”I’ve never made myself not available to represent my country – it’s just how passionate I feel about it,” Marshall said.”I’m just enjoying where I am at the moment and, if it happens, it happens. And if it doesn’t, it’s all good.”After leading the Tigers to a 5-1 start to be in fourth, Marshall’s case to add to his 25 Test caps and earn his first New Zealand jumper since 2012 is compelling.A line had seemingly been struck through Marshall’s name during the reigns of Kidwell and his predecessor Stephen Kearney.After a brief and unsuccessful stint in Super Rugby, Marshall was repeatedly knocked back by Kiwi selectors.The writing was seemingly on the wall in the 2014 Anzac Test when Marshall was overlooked despite an injury crisis resulting in back-rower Tohu Harris filling in at five-eighth.Asked if he ever felt like he’d been blacklisted, Marshall said: “No. When I talked to them, they made it clear it wasn’t personal and that other people were playing better than me.”That’s all you can do is try and be better. I’ve had a good start to the season but it can turn pretty quick.”last_img read more

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