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|Marshall-Foran combo set for Kangaroos battle|
|Topic Started: Oct 10 2011, 03:51 PM (93 Views)|
|stacey||Oct 10 2011, 03:51 PM Post #1|
Benji Marshall. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall is tipping Kieran Foran to be the key figure for the Kiwis as they plan their assault on a second successive Four Nations rugby league championship.
Foran's displays for Manly this year were a major factor in their NRL premiership triumph and Marshall believes the 21-year-old will help shift opponents' focus away from him.
Marshall will almost certainly play at five-eighth against Australia in Sunday's one-off Test at Newcastle's Ausgrid Stadium, with Foran shifting from his usual No.6 shirt into the halfback role.
And despite his relative inexperience at international level, with just four appearances to his name, Marshall has no doubt Foran will excel on the Four Nations tour of the UK starting this month.
"I think over the last six months Kieran has matured a lot and really taken a leadership role at Manly and that's going to benefit my game a lot more,'' Marshall told AAP.
"He can come in to camp and feel a bit more comfortable and dominate the team and lead them around and let me just play my game.''
The clash in Newcastle will be the first of an Australia-New Zealand double header with the the Rugby World Cup match-up between the All Blacks and the Wallabies kicking off in Auckland at 9pm.
Marshall denied that there is a battle between the two codes, but said the the success of the Warriors in making the NRL grand final, in addition to the club's all-conquering under-20s team, ensures a bright future for league in the Shaky Isles.
"Obviously in New Zealand all the talk is the Rugby World Cup, but with the Warriors making the grand final in all three grades it provided a talking point to change from rugby union to rugby league,'' he said.
"But it's not a competition, for us we just want to make our sport grow as much as we can and make sure it's in the best shape possible for the future.
"With the talent we've got coming through and the depth we've got, it's just a sign of what's to come in the future for us.''
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