Benji Marshall

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Benji Marshall
Benji Marshall (7176095836) (cropped).jpg
Marshall in 2012
Personal information
Full name Benjamin Quentin Marshall[1]
Born (1985-02-25) 25 February 1985 (age 29)[2]
Whakatane, New Zealand
Height 182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 91 kg (14 st 5 lb)
Playing information
Rugby league
Position Five-eighth, Halfback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–13 Wests Tigers 201 76 402 10 1118
2014– St George Illawarra 9 1 0 0 4
Total 210 77 402 10 1122
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2005–12 New Zealand 25 5 35 0 90
2010–13 NRL All Stars 4 1 8 0 20
Rugby union
Position Fly-half / Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2014 Blues 6 1 2 0 9
As of 22 April 2014
Source: League Central Rugby League Project

Benjamin Quentin "Benji" Marshall (born 25 February 1985) is a professional rugby league footballer, currently playing for NRL club the St George Illawarra Dragons.

He was previously a professional rugby union player with the Blues of the Super 15. He also previously played rugby league as a goal-kicking five-eighth/halfback 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,[3] no-look passes[4] and flick-passes.[5] In 2010 Marshall won the Golden Boot Award for the world's best player.[6]

Background[edit]

Marshall was raised without his biological father, but has spoken of the influence of his foster-father Michael Doherty,[7] and other men within his extended family. He has said he had, "10 or 11 fathers … which is not a bad thing."[8] He was a pupil at Whakatane High School.[9] The eldest of three brothers, he was offered a scholarship to play for a high school in Gold Coast, Queensland when he was 16. While attending Keebra Park State High School, Marshall played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 2003,[10] and also represented Australia in touch football that same year.[11] Although eligible to represent Australia, Marshall declared his allegiance to the New Zealand Kiwis early in his career.[12]

Professional playing career[edit]

Rugby league[edit]

2000s[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[14] 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.

2007[edit]

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.[15] 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.

Following the season, Marshall missed the Centenary Trans-Tasman Test due to injury and the New Zealand Kiwis went-on losing 0-58 against Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, which had give New Zealand their worst/biggest ever history margin-defeat by Australia in a Trans-Tasman Test Rivalry Showdown. Marshall also missed the Kiwis' Tour of Great Britain and France 4-Test games. The Kiwis end-up losing their 3 Test games to Great Britain, but won 28-22 against France.

2008[edit]

In 2008 Marshall's injury troubles continued when he suffered a knee ligament tear in the third minute of the season's opening game.[16] 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,[17] going as far as encouraging New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney to play Marshall in this role during the 2008 World Cup.[18] The suggestion was declined.[18]

"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."

-Wayne Bennett[19]

In October 2008, Marshall was named in the final 24-man Kiwi squad.[20] Marshall captained New Zealand for the first time on 8 November 2008, in a World Cup match against England.[21] 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."[22]

2009[edit]

Marshall running the ball in a match against the Newcastle Knights in 2009.

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.[23]

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.[24] 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,[25] though both Marshall and coach Tim Sheens insisted that Marshall had been switching between first and second receiver throughout the entire season.[26] Marshall went on to be named at 5/8 in the Team of the Year as chosen by The Rugby League International Federation.[27]

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."[28]

2010[edit]

As captain of New Zealand, Marshall was an automatic selection for the NRL All Stars in 2010.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32] He played in 34 games in 2010, the most of any NRL player.[33]

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.[34] Big League magazine named him one of the year's five top players.[33]

2011[edit]

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.[35]

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.[36] 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.[37] 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.

On 3 November 2011 The annual RLIF Awards dinner was held at the Tower of London and Marshall was named stand-off half back of the year.[38]

2012[edit]

Marshall began the 2012 season by captaining the NRL All Stars team to victory in the inaugural Arthur Beetson trophy.[39] 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.[40][41] 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.[42]

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.[43] At the end of the season he was nominated for the Dally M halfback of the year.[44]

2013[edit]

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."[45]

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."[46] 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.[47]

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.[48][49] 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.

Highlights[edit]

Rugby union[edit]

2014[edit]

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.[50]

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.[51] Blues coach Sir John Kirwan hinted that number 10 (first five-eighth), not 15 (fullback), may be Marshall's ideal position.[52][53][54]

In February 2014, Marshall made his Super Rugby debut for the Blues against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin coming on off the bench in the 59th minute playing at Fullback which resulted in a re-shuffle with Charles Piutau shifting to the centres. In his debut game he set-up a line-break assist to Peter Saili, which led to a try to Patrick Tuipulotu. However, the Blues end-up losing 21-29.[55]

On 15 March 2014, Marshall made his first appearance at fullback for the Blues for the clash against the South African team, the Lions at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. During the game, he scored his first Super Rugby try in the second half of the game (in the 80th minute). He made 10 runs (130 metres), 2 line-breaks, 3 Offloads and 2 Try-Assists - setting-up a try to team outside-backs Frank Halai (in the 65th minute) and George Moala (in the 71st minute). Unfortunately, the Blues end-up losing 36-39. Despite the loss, Marshall made a couple of great touches with the ball and produce a strong performance in the game.[56] Following round 5 (of the 2014 Super Rugby Season), Marshall was named at Fullback in the Fox-Sports' Round 5 Super Rugby 'Team of the week'.[57]

However, on 23 April 2014, having made just one start and six appearances, Marshall was released from his contract with the Blues.[58]

Return to Rugby league[edit]

2014[edit]

On 9 May 2014, Marshall signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the St George Illawarra Dragons.[59][60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marshall, Benjamin Quentin 2005–10 – KIWI #717 NZ League
  2. ^ "Benji Marshall". ASICS. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Prichard, Greg (1 October 2005). "Benji's care tactics". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (12 February 2012). "My best is yet to come, says Benji". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Beniuk, David (3 August 2010). "Benji not given the boot by Wests Tigers". Wide World of Sports. Ninemsn. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Otto, Tyson (4 December 2010). "Benji Marshall new poster boy after Golden Boot win". Daily Telegraph. News. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Read, Brent (26 August 2010). "Benji wants to make a difference". Australian. News. Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Man from uncle: How tough love turned Benji into a Tiger". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Grandpa Marshall gets 'trip of a lifetime' to final". NZ Herald. 29 September 2005. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 10 October 2008. 
  11. ^ "Fans turn Parra blue and gold". Brisbane Times. Fairfax. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  12. ^ NZRL approaches Karmichael Hunt | League | Sport| TVNZ
  13. ^ Collis, Ian; Whiticker, Alan (2007). 100 Years of Rugby League Volume 2:1967–2007. Chatswood, New South Wales: New Holland Publishers. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-74110-463-9. 
  14. ^ a b "Benji blow for Kiwis". TVNZ. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Anzac Test match 2007". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Fitzgibbon, Liam (16 March 2008). "Benji injury sours Tigers win". Fox Sports. News. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  17. ^ Fitzgibbon, Liam (9 July 2008). "Benji Marshall to switch to halfback – permanently". Daily Telegraph. Sydney: News. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "Move Benji to halfback says Sheens". Stuff Sport. Fairfax. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  19. ^ Marshall, Benji; Jackson, Glenn (2011). Benji : Benji Marshall: my game, my story. Sydney, New South Wales: Hachette Australia. ISBN 978-0-7336-2787-3. 
  20. ^ "Kiwis to wait on Webb and Matai". BBC. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  21. ^ "Benji Marshall to captain Kiwis in World Cup match with England". Daily Telegraph. News. AAP. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008. 
  22. ^ "New Zealand humble Kangaroos in World Cup final in Brisbane". Fox Sports. News. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  23. ^ Walter, Brad (27 March 2009). "The best I've ever seen Benji: Sheens". League HQ. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 March 2009. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Benji Marshall will stay at Wests Tigers until 2011 after re-signing with the club". Fox Sports. News. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "Marshall named at five-eighth". Daily Telegraph. Sydney: News. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  26. ^ Webster, Andrew (23 October 2009). "Secret plot to sack Benji Marshall". Daily Telegraph. Sydney: News. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  27. ^ Andrew Webster (10 November 2009). "Hayne named Player of the Year". Daily Telegraph. Sydney: News. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  28. ^ Jackson, Glenn (25 February 2010). "Who said loyalty was dead?". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  29. ^ "NRL All Stars Team". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  30. ^ Cousins, Wayne (26 March 2010). "Wests Tigers Beat Parramatta 23–12" (Press release). Wests Tigers. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  31. ^ Jackson, Glenn (19 July 2010). "Oops, I did it again, says Marshall after his big field goal from halfway". Brisbane Times. Fairfax. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  32. ^ Jackson, Glenn (24 September 2010). "Benji's secret session with ex-Socceroos boss". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  33. ^ a b Middleton, David, ed. (2010). 2010 Official Rugby League Annual. Alexandria NSW: News Magazines for the National Rugby League. 
  34. ^ Brad Walter (3 December 2010). "Benji Marshall dedicates Golden Boot award to father". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  35. ^ Scheikowski, Margaret (24 August 2011). "Benji Marshall's assault charge dismissed". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  36. ^ Dean Ritchie (13 June 2011). "Marshall magic sparks Tigers comeback win". Daily Telegraph. News. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  37. ^ David Beniuk (21 August 2011). "Blake Ayshford bags two as Wests Tigers beat Parramatta Eels in NRL round 24 match". Daily Telegraph. News. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  38. ^ "Slater scoops player award". Sky Sports. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  39. ^ Walter, Brad (5 February 2012). "Intensity aplenty with All Star scuffles and Merritt magic". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  40. ^ "NRL Statistics". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 September. 
  41. ^ "Player Stats". The Score. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  42. ^ "Custom Match List". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  43. ^ Cousins, Wayne (26 August 2012). "Post match review: Benji Marshall still confident of finals berth". Wests Tigers (Press release). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  44. ^ "2012 Dally M Awards Results". League Unlimited. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  45. ^ Glenn Jackson (28 February 2013). "Marshall dashed at loss of captaincy". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  46. ^ Glenn Jackson (16 May 2013). "Potter tips gutted Marshall to return to his best form". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  47. ^ Benji Marshall (12 May 2013). "Too timid, too reactive: I've become a shadow of myself". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  48. ^ Josh Massoud and James Hooper (22 June 2013). "Wests Tigers decline to offer Benji Marshall a contract extension". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  49. ^ Ritchie, Dean; Crawley, Paul; Massoud, Josh (15 July 2013). "Wests Tigers superstar Benji Marshall requests release from the club to join rugby union". Daily Telegraph. News. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  50. ^ Morton, Jim. "Benji Marshall starts singing the sweet Blues". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  51. ^ Kirk, Stacey; Napier, Liam. "Benji's coming home, but will skip World Cup". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  52. ^ Mortimer, James (28 January 2014). "Could Marshall be the general the Blues have been seeking?" (Press release). All Blacks. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  53. ^ "Benji Marshall to start at 10 for the Blues" (Press release). Blues. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  54. ^ "Q&A with Benji Marshall" (Press release). Blues. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  55. ^ "Benji Marshall sets-up try in Super Rugby debut defeat" (Press release). Sydney Morning Herald. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  56. ^ "Benji Marshall scores first Super Rugby try but Blues leave run too late in loss to Lions" (Press release). The Courier Mail. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  57. ^ "Benji Marshall, Nic White and Conrad Smith all make our R5 Super Rugby team of the week". FOX-SPORTS. Toby Sinclair. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  58. ^ "The Blues and Benji Marshall to part ways" (Press release). Blues. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  59. ^ "Benji Marshall signs with Dragons". NRL.com. NRL.com. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  60. ^ "Benji Marshall has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the St George Illawarra Dragons". The Daily Telegraph. David Riccio and Nathan Ryan. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Nathan Cayless
New Zealand national rugby league team captain
2009–13
Succeeded by
Simon Mannering