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Marshall to the Kiwis' rescue?

Newshub logoNewshub 30/09/2017

© Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited Kiwis coach David Kidwell has confirmed Benji Marshall is a chance for Rugby League World Cup selection; however, Kodi Nikorima and Te Maire Martin remain the frontrunners.

Marshall has not played for the Kiwis since 2012, but his form both on and off the field for the Broncos this season has played him into contention.

Speaking to RadioLIVE, Kidwell revealed the West Tigers-bound playmaker is certainly now part of the conversation, but faces stiff competition in the form of Nikorima and Martin to partner Shaun Johnson at the tournament.

"I think he's definitely an option now with Kieran Foran going out," Kidwell said.

"Te Maire Martin, he's playing in the grand-final tomorrow, so he gets another opportunity in front of myself and the selectors to impress.

"He scored a great try last week. He's growing with confidence and that's what we've noticed as coach and as selectors.

"You got young Kodi Nikorima, who's been in form for the Broncos, so there's definitely some options there for us in replace of Kieran."

The hotly contested halves spot comes after Foran announced he'd be forgoing the tournament to recover from lingering injuries heading into the new NRL season. Kidwell confirmed the choice was not Foran's, but that of the Canterbury Bulldogs, and admits the team will miss the player's influence.

"He wanted to play for the Kiwis and obviously his club have ruled him out," Kidwell said.

"Kieran at his best is a fantastic player. He's obviously played through injury this year and pushing his body, and it's obviously had an effect of him not being available for the World Cup."

"Having a player like Kieran would have been great, but it just gives these opportunities for these young up-and-coming halves to play in the World Cup."

New Zealand opens their Rugby League Cup campaign against Samoa at Mt Smart Stadium on October 28.

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