Marshall magic gets Kiwis home - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Marshall magic gets Kiwis home

By Laine Clark 14/11/2010 08:21:08 AM Comments (0)

An inspirational player in the No.6 jersey proved the difference in Saturday night's Four Nations final in Brisbane.

Unfortunately for Australia, it wasn't Darren Lockyer.

Livewire pivot Benji Marshall revelled in his role of party pooper by sparking a remarkable 16-12 win over Australia to largely silence the 36,299-strong Suncorp Stadium crowd.

While the Kiwis have a lousy record against Australia, they certainly know how to rise to an occasion.

And sadly for Lockyer, the occasion at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night was the Australian skipper's likely final Test on home soil.

Marshall sparked two tries in the final nine minutes to add the 2010 Four Nations trophy to their 2005 Tri-Nations and 2008 World Cup triumphs - all at the expense of Australia.

Adding further salt into Lockyer's wounds, the match-winner was scored by Nathan Fien - a fellow Queenslander who only eventually qualified for the Kiwi team due to the residency rule via the "Grannygate" scandal.

In short, Marshall was the man on Saturday night - but with 15 minutes left on the clock, the exciting five-eighth was being abused by coach Stephen Kearney.

"I was getting messages from the coach's box and they weren't very nice," Marshall smiled.

"But to provide the match turning play, that is my role.

"If something needs to be done, I feel I am the one to contribute.

"That's why the messages weren't nice. I had to get involved - and those messages got me into gear."

And how - Marshall's grubber was pounced on by Jason Nightingale in the 71st minute to make it 12-10 - with Marshall's conversion attempt hitting the right upright.

And in the 79th minute, Nightingale burst down the sideline, lobbed to Marshall - albeit possibly forward - who then threw a miraculous overhead pass for Fiend to swoop on.

"He's like that, Fien follows you around like a dog - a cute one," Marshall said.

Arriving in Brisbane, New Zealand had won just 28 of 118 Tests against Australia - and just four in 21 in Brisbane.

But as they did in 2008, the Kiwis won when it mattered much to the disappointment of the Suncorp Stadium crowd - and of course Lockyer in his 54th Test, just one short of Kiwi Ruben Wiki's record.

Despite their recent run of success, Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney did not believe New Zealand had closed the gap on Australia.

"There is still a gap between us - but we have taken a step to close it," he said.

"For us it is an ongoing process, we don't have the depth of Australia.

"But we have shown the gap is not so far - but we need to keep improving."

Australian coach Tim Sheens dipped his hat to his team who overcame the loss of Brent Tate (knee) and Luke Lewis (ankle) by halftime.

"I would like to think they were gallant in defeat," he said.

"Given our circumstances I was very proud of them.

"We had a few issues but they stuck together - they did their jumper proud."

Certainly Australia didn't lack passion as shown in the massive brawl that marked halftime with the scores locked up at 6-6.

Australian went ahead in the 58th minute when Billy Slater crossed - only for Marshall to steal the show.

It was a remarkable turnaround by the Kiwis from last week's 34-20 loss at Eden Park.

"Our character, heart and will to play for each other got us through tonight," Marshall said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news