Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Sheens Backs Marshall to Cope with Captaincy

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Sheens Backs Marshall to Cope with Captaincy

Article excerpt

RUGBY LEAGUE: Australian league coach Tim Sheens says Benji Marshall is well-equipped to handle the twin demands of Kiwis captain and playmaker, but needs to be wary of becoming a C[pounds sterling]traffic copC[yen] at international level.

The long-time Tigers supremo knows Marshall better than any other coach, having been in charge for every one of Marshall's 179 NRL games over a decade.

In the past year there have been growing questions over Marshall's suitability as national captain, particularly because his form at Test level has waned since the end of 2010.

However, Sheens doesn't think the armband is something that hinders the 27-year-old.

C[pounds sterling]At the Tigers he captained the side regularly when Robbie (Farah) was out and captained it well,C[yen] Sheens told the Herald on Sunday. C[pounds sterling]I think being captain at representative level is a major responsibility, but one that he normally takes on as a pivot anyway.

C[pounds sterling]As a seven or a six, he is always responsible for the way the game runs, to a degree. Most of the Australian captains have always come from the spine of the team Co fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker, though Mal Meninga was different Co and they are going to be the key decision-makers.C[yen]

Marshall is already the main playmaker for the Kiwis, one of the best attacking threats and the goal-kicker. Could captaincy become a burden, especially with the off-field demands that go with the job?

C[pounds sterling]I wouldn't agree that it is a major distraction for Benji to have the captaincy and be the five-eighth and goal-kicker at the same time,C[yen] Sheens said. C[pounds sterling]Most of the goal-kickers come from within the spine too and Benji's kicking figures have been in the top six this year, so that has been one of the strengths of his game.

C[pounds sterling]The big issue you have to be careful about as a captain is that you don't become a traffic cop,C[yen] he said. …

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