By David Beck

I've said before in this column that Whakatāne's finest Benji Marshall is the reason I fell in love with rugby league. The no-look passes, the sidesteps, that flick pass in the 2005 NRL grand final - at the peak of his powers he had it all.

However, there were tough times.

In 2013, he was the incumbent Kiwis captain but was dropped from the squad by coach Stephen Kearney. Marshall's confidence took a hit and he struggled for form with the Wests Tigers. They were on a losing streak and he was dropped to the bench.