‘Filthy’ Marshall apologised to teammates after Kiwis’ loss
November 12, 2010
THE size of the job ahead of Australia in the Four Nations final tomorrow night was evident in the moments after their win over New Zealand last Saturday in Auckland, when Kiwis captain Benji Marshall apologised to his teammates and promised to right the wrongs of his performance.
“I apologised to the boys after the game,” Marshall said yesterday. “I sat down and said I wasn’t happy with my performance, and I vowed to make sure I did everything I could this week to make sure that I improve all those things.”
And he has, by doing a number of extra training sessions that he hoped would inspire his teammates to follow suit.
Advertisement: Story continues below “If they see me doing all the extra work . . . if I’m out there doing extra tackling, they’ll go out and do it. If I’m out there doing extra kicking, they’ll practise extra ruck plays,” he said. “As a captain, if I improve my game, they’ll want to improve theirs. And if I look like I’m doing nothing about it then they don’t have to.”
While Marshall lit the game up in the closing stages with two wonderful try assists, the five-eighth was “filthy” with his opening to the encounter, during which he was at fault for two of the Kangaroos’ first three tries.
“I wasn’t happy with missing a tackle which led to the first try [to halfback Cooper Cronk], and then they scored another try. I kicked it out on the full, and they came down and scored another try,” Marshall said. "If those basic things didn’t happen at the start of the game, the score could have been much different, and changed the outcome.
"I’m just filthy at allowing the things that I pride myself on being good at to sneak into my game, which obviously means I wasn’t prepared well enough. I’m filthy as the captain.
"I’ve got to lead by example, and allowing those couple of things to happen is not a good example to set.
“I felt the whole game went on the back of the tone that I set.”
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney similarly expected better of his key playmaker in the decider, acknowledging what Marshall produced at Eden Park was “not good enough”.
“Against Australia, you need to play well for 80 minutes,” Kearney said.
“He understands how important he is to the group, so playing in patches is probably not good enough.”