Marshall has Kiwis breathing relief - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Marshall has Kiwis breathing relief

By Mark Geenty 02/11/2008 01:50:59 PM Comments (0)

Star Kiwis playmaker Benji Marshall has allayed fears about his hamstring injury, insisting he'll be fit for Saturday's World Cup rugby league pool match against England in Newcastle.

Marshall sat out the second half of the Kiwis' 48-6 win over Papua New Guinea on the Gold Coast after feeling tightness in the hamstring late in the first spell.

After playing a hand in three of the Kiwis' first four tries, Marshall was warming to his task and wanted to play on, but coaches Stephen Kearney and Wayne Bennett both overruled him to try and protect their most prized asset.

"I'll be sweet (for next weekend). I pulled up well and I iced it up, I'm feeling pretty good," Marshall said.

"I was just spewing I couldn't go back on. I said to both the coaches I wanted to go back on but they said it might be better if I stayed off, so it was their call in the end."

Marshall had little impact during the Kiwis' 30-6 defeat to the Kangaroos a week earlier and vowed to stamp his mark on Saturday night's match, just up the road from where he was a schoolboy star at Keebra Park High School.

He jinked around PNG winger George Keppa to set up Jerome Ropati's opening try, helped put Simon Mannering over in combination with halves partner Thomas Leuluai then fired a 15m pass out wide for the first of wing Sam Perrett's two tries.

"It was all right, I did a couple of good things and tried to get more involved," Marshall said.

"Last week I took a bit long to get into the game so I wanted to get a few touches early this week and try to be a bit more dominant. I did that in patches but there's still a lot to work on."

He said he and Leuluai were taking time to gel as a combination but were "getting better every week".

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