Benji Marshall could make a shock return to the Kiwis for the World Cup.

The former captain is still some way down the pecking order, with several contenders in front of him, but he has come back into consideration after five years in the international wilderness.

The Herald on Sunday understands that the 32-year-old is being watched closely by the Kiwis selection panel and the door remains open.

It's a different prospect to 2015 and 2016, when it often felt like former Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney had decided Marshall was yesterday's man regardless of injuries to other players and the other options available at the time.


There are ongoing questions over the Kiwis halves for next month's tournament; both Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran had injury concerns at the end of their NRL seasons, and Thomas Leuluai is likely to be used as a hooker at the World Cup.

Being involved in NRL finals football again, for only the second time since 2011, has certainly helped Marshall's cause. He is back in the spotlight, and was a central figure in the thriller between the Broncos and Roosters on Friday night, where the Sydney side eventually prevailed 24-22.

Marshall wasn't perfect, coughing up the ball with a crucial mistake in the second half and also missing a few tackles. But the 27-test Kiwi also showed his class and experience, after being thrown into halfback following a series of injuries at Red Hill.

Two of his kicks led directly to Broncos' tries, and Alex Glenn was held up over the line after a towering Marshall bomb caused havoc in the first half. He also organised the team well, especially when both Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt were struggling in the first half.

Marshall is, by all reports, a changed man off the field. He's made only 11 appearances for the Broncos this season - more than half of those from the bench - but has rediscovered his love for the sport toiling away for Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup.

The inclusion of Marshall in the Kiwis wouldn't result in the media circus that used to accompany the former skipper, and there's a feeling he would be happy to be one of the boys; crucial for the team's culture.

And Marshall is also desperate for one last shot in the black and white V.

"I'll never turn my back on the Kiwis " I'll always be available as long as I am playing," Marshall told the Herald on Sunday earlier this year. "That's just the way it is for me."