Kiwi stars feature in Manly-Tigers clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwi stars feature in Manly-Tigers clash

By David Beniuk 27/07/2011 07:39:09 PM Comments (0)

The growing depth of Rugby League World Cup and Four Nations title-holders New Zealand will be nowhere more evident than at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday night.

Two of the NRL's - and Kiwis' - gun halves, Kieran Foran and Benji Marshall will face off in a crucial showdown that will have major ramifications for the top eight.

Together they form as strong an international halves combination as any of Australia's opponents have managed in recent memory.

Head to head, rugby league's Golden Boot comes up against a young man many consider will one day win the award as the world's best player himself.

"I've formed a pretty good relationship with him there in the Kiwi camps and we've gotten to know each other pretty well," Foran told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's helped me out with my game every time I've gone into New Zealand camp and he's been great for me so I'm just really looking forward to playing him."

Foran grew up idolising the Kiwi captain, although Marshall's flamboyant mid-air step and flick passes contrast markedly with the controlled 21-year-old's game.

"I watched plenty of footage of him when he first started and he was always a really exciting player," Foran said.

"I loved watching because he could always pull a trick out or score a great try.

"And he was a Kiwi too so that was an added bonus."

The pair's time together since Foran's Test debut in 2009, however, doesn't have him any wiser on how to combat the lethal Tigers five-eighth.

"I don't know if you can prepare against Benji, he's a pretty creative player," Foran said.

"We've done a bit of video work there.

"They've got plenty of attacking options, Robbie Farah's a class player and so too Robert Lui."

Friday's clash is shaping as a bona fide NRL blockbuster.

Manly have won nine of their last 10 to sit second on the ladder, while the Tigers are hoping they have finally got their season of expectation going with two straight wins.

Tim Sheens men are in a precarious seventh spot, in a battle with six other clubs vying for the bottom three positions in the eight.

Veteran Manly forward Brent Kite said Foran was ready to prove his mettle against Marshall.

"I think he'll hold himself up to the test," Kite said.

"Benji's a great player, a totally different style of player, but they're both on the park in the same arena, it's exciting for the fans and even for those two ... who can come out on top."

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