Rugby league: Benji Marshall looms as shock inclusion in Māori All Stars for NRL's traditional pre-season opener

  • 02/02/2021

Former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall may be named in the Māori All Stars team for the NRL's traditional season opener.

Selection would complete a stunning resurrection for the 35-year-old, who was considering retirement two weeks ago, before signing a one-year deal with South Sydney last week.

Sydney Morning Herald reports Marshall will be a star attraction for the pre-season clash on February 20, when the Māori selection takes on Indigenous All Stars. 

Coach David Kidwell is understood to have picked his former NZ teammate, who missed selection through public voting. 

Marshall's new club coach, Wayne Bennett, has green-lighted his involvement in the All Stars clash, where the 2005 premiership winner would go up against Rabbitohs teammates Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Alex Johnstone. 

"If Benji is there, it will be great,” says Indegenous coach Laurie Daley. “The more high-profile players the teams can select the better - I think it would be tremendous." 

The Māori v Indigenous showdown has always evoked strong emotions from the players involved and provided a stellar start to the rugby league season.

After last year's game, former NZ Warriors hooker Issac Luke rated the experience up there with his 37 Kiwis tests. 

“I’m a proud Māori man," said Luke. "I’m Māori to the core. and I’ve wanted this jersey ever since I was little.

“It’s definitely up there with the Kiwis jersey."