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Bennett great for NRL All Stars: Benji

By Wayne Heming,


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    Master entertainer Benji Marshall says he will keep playing All Star games as long as Wayne Bennett keeps coaching them.

    Bennett’s NRL All Stars will be chase a third win from four clashes against the Indigenous All Stars in front of a bumper 40,000-plus crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

    Marshall said Bennett’s support of the concept introduced in 2010 had been a major factor in its success after some critics tipped it would fail.

    “I think Wayne is the best coach for this concept. He really buys into what it’s all about,” said the Kiwi ace.

    “The way he breaks down the week for all the players and makes them aware of what it all means is something to be proud of.

    “Just to be involved, what it stands for and to be able to help out the indigenous community – we’re all pretty proud to be involved in it.

    “Wayne is a big fan of the concept and promotes it because he knows what it means to the indigenous community.

    “He’s coached a lot of indigenous players in his time. He knows what it means to them and he doesn’t want to disrespect them by not taking this seriously.

    “I’ve told Wayne: ‘as long as you’re here, I’m here’. That’s why I keep getting automatically selected.”

    Marshall conceded the indigenous line-up was stacked with players who could break the game open if given a chance.

    “I think both teams have got enough strike power to show a lot of flair,” he said.

    “For us, we’ve got a strong forward pack and, if we can get through the middle, or even dominate them in the middle, it’ll give us a good chance of winning.”

    Marshall warned his players wouldn’t fall into the trap of just going out and tossing the ball around.

    “We want to win the game which means completing our sets and playing off the back of quick play-the-balls,” he said.

    © AAP 2018

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