Despite Benji Marshall being arguably the most in-form half at the Broncos not named Anthony Milford (and, for that matter, the most in-form half eligible for the Kiwis, period), don’t expect to see him in a black jersey at this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
According to AAP, Kiwis coach David Kidwell has ruled out a call-up for Marshall, declaring that the Kiwis have “moved on”.
“Look, I think we’ve sort of moved on from Benji,” Kidwell said. “Those young halves – those guys are definitely putting themselves in the frame.”
Those young halves he’s referring to – presumably Te Maire Martin and Kodi Nikorima – are no doubt the future of the New Zealand Test team (at least until someone else comes along and supercedes them), however at a World Cup, it’d be disappointing for the Kiwis to prioritise the future over trying to win now. On form, you could make an argument (albeit not necessarily a strong one) that Marshall should even be selected before Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran, let alone the young blokes – for him to have fallen out of contention altogether is bogus.
There’s still a long way to go between now and the World Cup, but if Marshall continues to turn back the clock, we’d hope that Kidwell will reconsider.
Marshall has played 25 Tests for New Zealand, including their World Cup win in 2008.