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Blair will set Kiwi culture right: Benji

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017 Matt Encarnacion
Benji Marshall of the Broncos. © Matt King/Getty Images Benji Marshall of the Broncos.

Former New Zealand captain Benji Marshall believes Adam Blair is the perfect man to rectify the Kiwis' wayward culture and should've been made skipper years ago.

Blair will lead the Kiwis into the World Cup at the end of the year after Jesse Bromwich was was stood down following last month's drugs scandal in Canberra.

His appointment came as a shock considering the wealth of options at coach David Kidwell's disposal - but not to 2008 World Cup winner Marshall.

"Honestly, in my personal opinion he's the perfect guy for the job. I have thought that for the last couple of years," Marshall said of his Brisbane teammate.

"You won't find a guy with more passion for playing for his country, and more professional when it comes to that side of the game.

"He does all the little things, he's not scared to say if someone's not pulling their weight. I think he sets a great culture. Not only at club, but in New Zealand level."

Marshall has long been admirer of Blair's game, ever since the pair helped the Kiwis stun Australia to claim their maiden World Cup win almost a decade ago.

The duo also spent two years together at the Wests Tigers in 2012-13 before re-uniting when Marshall moved to the Broncos this season.

A veteran playmaker of 25 Tests, Marshall said Blair had found a new level to his game at the Broncos after his career had seemingly plateaued following his big-money move to the Tigers.

"I think there was a lot of pressure there at the Tigers, and when you're not surrounded by a lot of great players like he is here, you've got to take it to another level," Marshall said.

"With all the great players here, it's taken the pressure off him. I think he's just really taken the leadership role here under his wing. He's been one of our best all year."

Marshall, who is yet to decide whether to play on in 2018, also hasn't given up hope of being part of a wider Kiwis squad during the end-of-season tournament.

Although after being sounded out to commentate for the Seven Network during the World Cup, he admits he is unlikely to be selected.

"I'm never going to rule myself out of contention. I still honestly believe I got what it takes to play at that level. I don't know where the selectors or the coach sits with that," he said.

"Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran, it's a pretty solid halves combination. But if I can get on the tour and be part of the squad, I'd love to."

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