Tony Kemp: Warriors must sign Benji Marshall

TONY KEMP
Last updated 14:36 30/03/2014
Benji Marshall
STAND UP: The Warriors might be a good option for Benji Marshall if his fortunes at the Blues do not improve.

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OPINION: Here's an idea for you - Benji Marshall will leave the Blues and sign with the Warriors.

Seems a bit far-fetched, right?

Or does it?

Through the first seven weeks of the Super Rugby competition, it's become apparent to all that Marshall is not a union player.

Despite big plans in the pre-season to steer the Blues' campaign from the pivotal first-five position, he's struggled to even nail a starting spot in a fairly ordinary side.

Any faint hopes he had of playing in next year's World Cup for the All Blacks have also been well and truly extinguished.

The bench is no place for a player of Marshall's calibre. He is better than that and it might be time for him to cut his losses and return to the game that made him into a household name.

It's fair to say the recruitment at the Warriors has been poor for some time but even Blind Freddy could see there's a real opportunity right now to secure the services of a spectacular playmaker who just happens to be down on his luck.

For years, the Kiwi club has struggled to find a solution in the halves. Yes, they have Shaun Johnson but he's still developing and isn't yet a big-game player.

Marshall is.

With his wife, Zoe, making a name for herself as a media personality over here, I can't see the Marshalls wanting to move across the ditch any time soon.

Half the battle, then, is already won.

Just as it's become apparent Marshall isn't a rugby player, it's also pretty clear that Chad Townsend is not the answer for the Warriors in the halves.

If the club was hoping to uncover the next "James Maloney", they'll be sorely disappointed by his performances so far.

With Marshall struggling at the Blues and certainly not used to riding the pine, the Warriors have an incredible opportunity to sign an individual who could turn around their fortunes in a heartbeat.

It's time for owners Eric Watson and Owen Glenn to dust off the chequebook and lure him across town. What are they waiting for?

On another note, I was utterly gobsmacked to hear the New Zealand Rugby League has appointed Andrew McFadden as Stephen Kearney's assistant with the Kiwis.

I don't want to sound like I'm "Aussie bashing" here but to overlook a couple of strong New Zealand contenders - David Kidwell and Richie Blackmore - for the job was just plain wrong.

Both Kidwell and Blackmore, men who wore the black jersey with distinction, would have offered the New Zealand team more than the guy who got the nod.

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Seriously, what is wrong with the NZRL? I mean, what sort of message does this appointment send to Kiwis hoping to get into coaching? Where are the pathways?

Does this appointment suggest that McFadden - Matt Elliott's Australian assistant at the Warriors - will ultimately be the man to take over from Kearney?

This is just madness and guys like Kidwell and Blackmore have every right to feel let down by rugby league's governing body.

I wish I could say I'm surprised.

- Sunday News

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