Benji Marshall named for NRL return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Benji Marshall named for NRL return

By Liam FitzGibbon 22/04/2008 04:49:41 PM Comments (0)

Kiwi superstar Benji Marshall is confident of making his NRL return this weekend and admits he already has one eye on next month's Centenary Test against Australia.

The Wests Tigers playmaker has been named at five-eighth in the team to face Cronulla on Sunday in what would be his first match since tearing a knee ligament minutes into the round one win over St George Illawarra.

While still no certainty to play, Marshall is hoping solid games this week and next week against Brisbane will prove he is ready for a Test return before the New Zealand squad is named on May 4.

"I'd by lying if I said no," injury-prone Marshall said when asked if he was thinking about the May 9 Test at the SCG.

"I've missed too many Tests as it is, I'd love to be picked in the team but I've got two games to get myself ready for that.

"I'm sure if I can get two 80-minute games under my belt I'll feel ready.

"Having said that, if I don't feel ready I won't put my name forward."

Tigers coach Tim Sheens said Marshall would only face the Sharks if he and the club's medical staff were happy with how he gets through training this week.

But the 23-year-old five-eighth was confident his knee would be right after weeks of practising his trademark sidestep.

"I've been stepping for the last two-and-a-half weeks, the step feels good," Marshall said.

"It's just getting confidence back and getting running so I've started doing that and I've just got to get through Thursday and Friday (training).

"Fingers crossed I'll be sweet to play ... I'm feeling pretty confident and I'm looking forward to it."

Marshall's return was set to create a selection headache for Sheens with both halves Mathew Head and John Morris playing well in recent weeks.

But the coach solved that problem by naming Head at halfback alongside Marshall and Morris at hooker in place of the injured Robbie Farah.

Farah is still some chance of returning from a back injury on Sunday, but Sheens was far from optimistic.

The hooker will visit a back specialist on Wednesday over the ongoing injury which threatens to damage his hopes of playing representative football this season.

"I don't think he'll play - simple as that," Sheens said.

"Unless a miracle happens I think we're looking at least the week after, maybe the week after that, which puts him in jeopardy I suppose for City-Country as well."

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