Benji Marshall hoping for recall to Kiwi Test ranks

Benji Marshall hopes his good form for the Dragons will earn him a Test recall for the Kiwis in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Benji Marshall hopes his good form for the Dragons will earn him a Test recall for the Kiwis in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

RUGBY LEAGUE

Dragons star Benji Marshall hopes to cap a remarkable return season in the NRL with a recall to the Test arena nearly two years year after being dumped as Kiwis skipper.

Marshall hasn't played for New Zealand since October 2012, with selectors leaving him out of the Kiwis squad for last year's World Cup following his defection to Super Rugby franchise Auckland Blues.

The move appeared to have ended his rugby league career but his resurrection with the Dragons this year has silenced critics who questioned whether he could still cut it in the NRL and put him firmly in line for the end-of-season Four Nations tournament.

An injury to Kieran Foran before May's mid-season Test exposed a stark lack of depth in the halves for New Zealand, with Melbourne back-rower Tohu Harris starting the match at five-eighth alongside Shaun Johnson in the 30-18 loss.

He may struggle to unseat Johnson or Foran in the starting line-up should both be fit, but Marshall - who skippered the Kiwis a record 19 times in his 27 Tests - would add valuable experience to coach Stephen Kearney's squad for the tournament.

Marshall spoke to Kearney, currently an assistant coach at Brisbane, following the Dragons's 30-22 loss to the Broncos on Friday night, a discussion he hopes will lead to a Test recall.

"I had a brief chat to him after the game against the Broncos on the weekend," he said.

"We didn't really talk about that [Test selection] too much, it was more about how I was going and how I was feeling and seeing if I was happy.

"Hopefully that leads to being selected but if it doesn't it's not the end of the world for me."

Asked if he bore any animosity towards the man who stripped him of the New Zealand captaincy, Marshall said: "I'm past that now. It's something that happened over a year ago, so it hasn't been in the back of my mind at all.

"I'm just more worried about representing New Zealand.

"For me, I grew up dreaming of that and I've had the opportunity to do it and hopefully I get to do it again.

"Representing your country is the highest honour in the game and if it comes my way I'll take it."

While he never lost the desire to pull on the black and white jersey, Marshall said Test selection was the last thing on his mind when he joined the Dragons in May.

"It's always in the back of your mind to represent your country but it wasn't in the back of mine coming back here," Marshall said.

"I just wanted to play good footy and be happy playing footy again, so that was my main goal.

"But I feel like I've built throughout the season and have been getting better and I'm starting to find a bit more confidence. I think my experience can definitely help there [Four Nations] so if it happens, it happens."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop