|Marshall in 2012|
|Full name||Benjamin Quentin Marshall|
25 February 1985 |
Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
|Height||182 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||93 kg (14 st 9 lb)|
|2010–13||NRL All Stars||4||1||8||0||20|
|Position||Fly-half / Fullback|
|As of 16 April 2014|
|Source: League Central Rugby League Project|
Benjamin Quentin "Benji" Marshall (born 25 February 1985) is a professional rugby union footballer with the Blues of the Super 15. He previously played rugby league as a goal-kicking five-eighth and was the captain of the New Zealand national team, with whom he won the 2008 World Cup and 2010 Four Nations tournaments. Marshall played for ten seasons in the National Rugby League for Sydney club Wests Tigers, with whom he won the 2005 NRL Premiership. He has been noted for his flamboyant attack, including sidesteps, no-look passes and flick-passes. In 2010 Marshall won the Golden Boot Award for the world's best player.
Marshall was raised without his biological father, but has spoken of the influence of his foster-father Michael Doherty, and other men within his extended family. He has said he had, "10 or 11 fathers … which is not a bad thing." He was a pupil at Whakatane High School. The eldest of three brothers, he was offered a scholarship to play for a high school in the Gold Coast, Queensland when he was 16. While attending Keebra Park State High School, Marshall played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 2003, and also represented Australia in touch football that same year. Although eligible to represent Australia, Marshall declared his allegiance to the New Zealand Kiwis early in his career.
Professional playing career
Marshall made his NRL debut on 27 July 2003, at age 18 against the Newcastle Knights, coming on as a replacement in the 14th minute as fullback. The Wests Tigers won that game 52–12. Marshall continued to make appearances for Wests Tigers for the remainder of 2003, when his studies allowed, playing half back.
In 2004, Marshall starred in the pre-season World Sevens competition helping the Wests Tigers to win the tournament. He began the NRL season playing centre until he dislocated his shoulder against the North Queensland Cowboys. During his time off the Tigers struggled in attack. When he returned after four weeks off he was moved to the play making position of five-eighth. From there, Marshall set the club on a record 3 match winning streak. He dislocated the same shoulder four weeks into his return and his 2004 season was ended as he had surgery.
In 2005, Marshall injured his other shoulder in the opening minutes of the first trial (practice) match. After missing the opening round match, Marshall played five-eighth for the club's second match of the year against defending premiers, the Bulldogs. With an injury free run, Marshall demonstrated a passing, running, and kicking game to complement his stepping. He was able to score individual tries and set-up tries for his team-mates. Marshall also made his New Zealand debut in the 2005 ANZAC Test. Marshall was a member of the Wests Tigers that defeated North Queensland Cowboys in the 2005 NRL grand final, where he famously set up a 90-metre try to Pat Richards, which was considered to be one of the best tries of grand final history. The try involved a trademark 'flick pass', at about the 50-metre line to Richards. Marshall was named as New Zealand five-eighth for the 2005 Tri Nations tour. However, surgery on his weak shoulder in the off-season ruled him out and he also missed the 2006 World Club Challenge.
In 2006, Marshall made his comeback from surgery against St George Illawarra but broke his cheek bone. He played the rest of the match and set up the winning try.
Making his comeback against the Cowboys Marshall set up many tries with a mixture of stepping and perceptiveness. In the 79th minute he was injured by Cowboy's prop Carl Webb. He popped his shoulder out but recovered in three weeks, playing for New Zealand in the ANZAC test. With another injury-free run he began producing dominating performances for the Tigers but eight weeks into his come-back he dislocated the same shoulder that had been dislocated against North Queensland, and he missed the rest of the season.
In 2007, Marshall again made his comeback from injury against the Melbourne Storm in Round 1. Marshall had to adapt to changes within the team such as the departure of halfback, Scott Prince, and the added responsibility of goal kicking while fullback, Brett Hodgson, was recovering from a knee injury. Marshall was selected to play for the New Zealand national team at five-eighth in the 2007 ANZAC Test, kicking one goal in the 6–30 loss against Australia. In round 8, Marshall sustained a fractured shoulder in a tackle where his arm was jammed between Melbourne's Israel Folau and the Tiger's Taniela Tuiaki.
In 2008 Marshall's injury troubles continued when he suffered a knee ligament tear in the third minute of the season's opening game. He returned in round 7. Halfway through 2008, coach Tim Sheens' announced his plan to move Marshall to the halfback position during the 2009 season, going as far as encouraging New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney to play Marshall in this role during the 2008 World Cup. The suggestion was declined.
"Benji equals anybody I've seen in terms of flair, and making something happen. He is a remarkable talent, born out of living on the edge. That's the way he is. He was made to be a footballer."
In October 2008, Marshall was named in the final 24-man Kiwi squad. Marshall captained New Zealand for the first time on 8 November 2008, in a World Cup match against England. Marshall scored a try and kicked two conversions in the Kiwis' 2008 Rugby League World Cup final victory over the Kangaroos. It was the Kiwis first ever World Cup victory, in a game they were considered, "massive underdogs."
In round one of the 2009 season, Marshall started at halfback alongside John Morris at five-eighth. By the third round of the season, Marshall began to make an impact in his new role, helping the team to a 40–24 win over the Sydney Roosters.
In March 2009, despite speculation that he might play rugby union in Japan, Marshall signed with the Wests Tigers for a further two seasons through to the end of 2011. Following Kiwis captain Nathan Cayless' retirement from international football in 2009, Marshall was named as captain in that year's ANZAC Test.
Marshall returned to his old position of five-eighth from July 2009, though both Marshall and coach Tim Sheens insisted that Marshall had been switching between first and second receiver throughout the entire season. Marshall went on to be named at 5/8 in the Team of the Year as chosen by The Rugby League International Federation.
In early 2009 Marshall signed a further extension with the Tigers, to stay at the club until the end of the 2015 season, saying, "I just can't see myself as anything other than a one-club man."
In March 2010, Marshall scored two tries against the Parramatta Eels to become the highest try-scorer for the Wests Tigers, breaking the record of 43 previously held by Daniel Fitzhenry. For the 2010 Anzac Test, he captained New Zealand at five-eighth in their loss against Australia. Later that year, in a match against the Titans, Marshall kicked a 51-metre long field goal, considered to be the longest in NRL history. 2010 was the first season that Marshall had played without missing a game due to injury, and his form was thought to be close to his career-best. He played in 34 games in 2010, the most of any NRL player.
After leading the Kiwis to victory in the 2010 Four Nations tournament, Marshall won Rugby League World Golden Boot Award for international footballer of the year. Big League magazine named him one of the year's five top players.
As New Zealand captain, Marshall was again an automatic selection in the 2011 All Stars Match.
In March 2011, Marshall was charged with assault after another man sustained a facial injury during an altercation with Marshall at a McDonald's restaurant in Sydney. In August, the judge dismissed the case, saying she had reasonable doubt that the injury was caused by Marshall.
In round 14 of the 2011 season, Marshall scored 2 tries against the New Zealand Warriors. He had then scored a try against every team in the NRL. Before the end of the season he had eclipsed Brett Hodgson as the highest scorer in the short history of the Wests Tigers, having amassed 797 points in 151 games. Marshall was the top point-scorer for the 2011 NRL season. After the post-season test against Australia in Newcastle, Marshall travelled to England with the Kiwis for the 2011 Four Nations tournament.
Marshall began the 2012 season by captaining the NRL All Stars team to victory in the inaugural Arthur Beetson trophy. He was one of the few players to appear in every Wests Tigers game for the year and, despite the club's poor showing, led the NRL in try assists and line-break assists in the regular season. With the departure of Robert Lui in the off-season, the club tried a number of players at halfback in 2012, before Marshall switched from five-eighth in May.
In the second last game of the regular season, Marshall kicked two goals to become the first Wests Tigers and 43rd player in the Australian competition to score one thousand points. At the end of the season he was nominated for the Dally M halfback of the year.
As encumbent New Zealand national captain, Marshall was selected to play in the 2013 NRL All Stars game. Weeks later, New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney announced that Marshall had been dropped as the team's captain. Marshall said, "It was the proudest moment of my career, captaining my country. I was lucky enough that I got to break the record for most caps as Kiwi captain. The decision was Steve's and the New Zealand Rugby League's, and it's just a decision I'm just going to have to live with."
By May 2013, with the Wests Tigers in a losing streak, Marshall was dropped to the bench because of poor form. Coach Mick Potter said, "We needed to change something around. We can't just keep doing what we've been doing and expect a result. Benji, as you could imagine, was disappointed. Disappointed is probably not hard enough." Marshall later admitted he was playing badly and without confidence. "This year, I've hardly taken the line on and I've hardly been tackled. Over the first six rounds I was barely contributing to the team," he said.
In July 2013, Marshall sought a release from the remaining two years of his contract with Wests Tigers to pursue a career in rugby union, after the club declined to offer him a contract extension and upgrade that had been previously verbally agreed upon. He finished the remainder of the season before leaving, and left the Wests Tigers as the club's all time top try and point scorer.
- First Grade Debut: 2003 – Round 13, Wests Tigers v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, 8 June.
- Premierships: 2005 – Wests Tigers defeated North Queensland Cowboys 30 – 16 in the Grand Final, Stadium Australia, Sydney, 2 October.
- New Zealand Test Debut: 2005 – ANZAC Test, New Zealand v Australia, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 22 April.
- New Zealand Test Captain: 2008–12
- New Zealand Test Squad Selection: 2005–12
- World Cups: 2008 – New Zealand defeated Australia 34 – 20 in Final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 26 October.
- NRL All Stars Debut: 2010 – NRL All Stars v Indigenous All Stars, Skilled Park, Robina, Queensland, 13 February.
- NRL All Stars Captain: 2012–13
- NRL All Stars Selection: 2010–13
In August Marshall entered negotiations with the Blues to play Super Rugby in New Zealand. He indicated his desire to play for the Auckland team, even if it meant a pay cut and the probability of starting on the bench.
He signed with the Blues and was confirmed via Blues official YouTube channel. He signed a two-year deal with the Auckland franchise worth close to $500,000 a season. Blues coach Sir John Kirwan hinted that number 10 (first five-eighth), not 15 (fullback), may be Marshall's ideal position.
- Marshall, Benjamin Quentin 2005–10 – KIWI #717 NZ League
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- NZRL approaches Karmichael Hunt | League | Sport| TVNZ
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|New Zealand national rugby league team captain