Marshall targeting an Aussie compliment - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Marshall targeting an Aussie compliment

By Steve Jancetic 22/11/2008 02:24:20 PM Comments (0)

Australia have denied there is anything sinister in their plans to rough up New Zealand superstar Benji Marshall as the Kiwi camp rallied around their talismanic playmaker on the eve of the World Cup final.

The Kangaroos refused to back away from speculation Marshall's fragile body would be targeted in both defence and attack, claiming the tactic was in fact a compliment to the Kiwi No.6 given the extra attention is normally reserved for the game's elite.

"He's their main game-breaker, he can set up tries from anywhere, he can score tries from anywhere," Kangaroos assistant coach John Cartwright said.

"It's no different to how we've approached every game in the tournament - the guys who set up the plays, you've got to stop them."

Leaks from within the Australian camp claimed Marshall was running scared from the Kangaroos when the home side crushed New Zealand 30-6 in the tournament opener, a claim rubbished by Kiwi skipper Nathan Cayless.

But Cayless knows the only way Marshall can put an end to talk that he is a defensive liability is out on the field, and he called on the Wests Tigers premiership-winner to take a leaf out of Darren Lockyer's book after the Australian skipper withstood a heavy barrage in last week's win over Fiji.

Lockyer was hit with several heavy - and occasionally late - hits with Fiji and Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne showing a particular penchant for rushing out of the line to hammer the Kangaroos ace.

Cayless said Marshall needed to show he too could take the heat.

"Obviously the guys around (Marshall) can help him out in defence but at the end of the day everyone's got to do their job on the field," Cayless said.

"They're going to target Benji, he's worked really hard on his defence and he's got to stand up and I'm sure he will.

"It's the same with a player like Darren Lockyer, you see week-in week-out in the NRL he gets targeted but he just keeps coming back and that's the challenge for Benji."

Despite the extra attention, Marshall is without doubt the man the Australians fear most.

Unlike Australia's plethora of game-breakers, Marshall stands out as New Zealand's No.1 option, though Cayless said he needed plenty of support from his teammates.

"All Benji needs to do is his job and his role in the team, he doesn't need to win us the game," Cayless said.

"We've got 17 players that need to play to the best of their ability and Benji's part of our team ... He doesn't have to do anything special for us."

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