Benji Marshall for the Kiwis at the 2008 World Cup.
Benji Marshall for the Kiwis at the 2008 World Cup.

Bring Benji back! Call for Kiwis exile to end for Tigers star

BENJI Marshall has earned the chance to return from a six-year Test exile and guide a Kiwis revival.

That's the view of Wests Tigers teammate Josh Reynolds, the man veteran Marshall has usurped in the pecking order for the club's starting five-eighth spot.

Reynolds will come from the bench against Manly at Lottoland on Sunday in what will be his first game of the season because of a hamstring injury.

After going down in the last training session of the Tigers' pre-season, Reynolds has been an impressed spectator as veteran Marshall guided the Tigers to a 4-1 start.

Coach Ivan Cleary has shown he cares little for reputations - and the fact Reynolds is on a $3 million, four-year deal - by keeping Marshall in the starting side.

Marshall has been in great since returning for the Tigers.
Marshall has been in great since returning for the Tigers.

Reynolds had no qualms about being behind Marshall and was adamant his 33-year-old teammate had been so good he deserved a return to the New Zealand team, which is coming off a disastrous World Cup campaign.

"Yeah, 100 per cent," Reynolds said when asked if Marshall should be the Kiwis No.6 for their mid-year Test against England.

 

"He's playing good footy. I'm not sure who he's up against for that position. On form, it'd be silly not to.

"Just being around him, he's just got a lot of footy knowledge. I think that can help New Zealand at the moment.

"If you looks at the Warriors' form, they're are at the best they've been in five years. And they make up a lot of the New Zealand team. If you throw in someone like him, I think they'd be a great side."

Marshall was essentially banished from the Kiwis side under former coaches Stephen Kearney and David Kidwell.

Josh Reynolds has been impressed by Marshall's form. Picture: Toby Zerna
Josh Reynolds has been impressed by Marshall's form. Picture: Toby Zerna

After Kidwell stepped down following their disastrous World Cup campaign, Geoff Toovey, Laurie Daley, Michael Maguire are among the contenders to take over as coach.

Marshall's chances of earning a Test cap for the first time since 2012 will depend on who steps in, however there's little doubt he's out-performing fellow contenders Kieran Foran, Kodi Nikorima and Te Maire Martin.

Reynolds has refused to kick stones after being asked to start off the bench and said he would likely spend time at hooker as well as in the halves on sunday.

"Unfortunate circumstances meant I wasn't able to play round one," Reynolds said.

"Benji and (Luke Brooks) are playing some great footy so who am I to come back in straight away whoever you are?

"My attitude stays exactly the same, I'm going to work hard on my game and maybe one day I will be the starting five-eighth.

"But for now, I just have to nail my role."



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