Rugby: Marshall's praise for Cullen hints at hopes

By Josh Berry

Benji Marshall says he hasn't "felt this happy and relaxed for a long time". Photo / Dean Purcell
Benji Marshall says he hasn't "felt this happy and relaxed for a long time". Photo / Dean Purcell

Benji Marshall has dropped the biggest hint about where he sees himself playing in the 15-man code, saying he hopes he can be half the player legendary fullback Christian Cullen was.

Marshall attended his first pre-season training with the Blues in Auckland yesterday off the back of a six-week break from professional sport.

The 28-year-old Marshall said he was feeling his age.

"[It] made me definitely feel old out there today among those young fullas," Marshall said.

"The boys got a good gauge of what I'm like; I'm a bit of a joker and like mucking around and I showed them a bit of that this morning."

He wasn't shy in admitting there were a few reservations upon meeting his 2014 teammates.

"I was really nervous this morning about sitting in the team environment for the first time, [but] the boys were good to me and made me feel welcome.

"Just that first team meeting, I didn't know many people, it was a bit scary but everyone's been awesome."

Marshall joins the Blues from the Wests Tigers and says in order to capitalise in rugby he will be looking to a childhood hero for inspiration.

"My favourite player coming through was Christian Cullen, so if I can emulate half of what he did in the game and play a little bit like he did I'll be pretty happy.

"No one really knows how it's going to go yet, I can only guess and hope that it goes great and I'll give myself every chance by training as hard as I can."

Aside from the shift from league to rugby, Marshall also says the move has given him time to reconnect with his roots.

"I haven't felt this happy and relaxed for a long time which has been great.

"Just to be home back in New Zealand and the chance to see a lot more of family has been pretty appealing for me and something I've really been enjoying.

"It's been five years since I've had a good break mentally... to have the last six weeks just doing nothing and resting, it's been refreshing and it's great to be home."

- NZ Herald

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