Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Having seen Benji Marshall, centre, lead his Wests Tigers side in Australia’s National Rugby League, Australia national coach Tim Sheens says he still has no idea what Marshall will do and when.
Having seen Benji Marshall, centre, lead his Wests Tigers side in Australia’s National Rugby League, Australia national coach Tim Sheens says he still has no idea what Marshall will do and when.

Australia are puzzled in preparations for Benji Marshall

Australia are wondering how to stop New Zealand's Benji Marshall, especially when he is not the only tough customer they will be facing in the Anzac Test.

Tim Sheens, the Australia coach, knows Benji Marshall better than most, but even he has no idea what the New Zealand half-back will produce in today's Anzac Test.

Sheens coaches Marshall at Wests Tigers in Australia's National Rugby League, but the Kiwi's unpredictability remains the biggest threat to the hosts' hopes of victory.

Marshall was instrumental in New Zealand's breathtaking win in last year's Four Nations final, but Sheens said negating his trickery is far easier said than done.

"I could tell them what size shorts he wears and things like that, but not even I know exactly what he's going to do at times - how do I coach against that?" Sheens said. "We prepare for our game and look at their strengths and Benji is one of them, but we're not focused on one player. It's not all about Benji.

"They're a very good side."

Marshall was quick to return the compliment and said the Australian line-up features some of the best players in rugby league.

"[Johnathan] Thurston is probably the form player of the competition, Locky [Darren Lockyer] is playing well for Brisbane and [Greg] Inglis is starting to find his feet at Souths," Marshall said.

"They're going to be hard to shut down all over the field and we know that we're not going to be able to shut down everything, but we can try and limit the effect they have on the game."

If they can do that, Stephen Kearney, the New Zealand coach, believes his side can win.

"We've been able to build some consistency in our selections in recent years," he said. "The side has become more settled, and we've also been able to develop a little more in terms of experience and our combinations."

New Zealand humbled Australia 34-20 at the 2008 World Cup and beat them 16-12 in November's Four Nations final but have yet to beat them away in 14 years of Anzac Tests.

The Kiwis' only success in the annual one-off clash came at Auckland's North Harbour Stadium in 1998, the only time it has been played in New Zealand.

Today's Test was switched to Gold Coast's Robina ground after the original venue in Christchurch, New Zealand, was damaged during February's earthquake.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National