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Benji Marshall 'taken aback' by praise from Kiwis teammate Shaun Johnson about changing the game

Kiwis star Benji Marshall was at a loss for words after teammate Shaun Johnson paid homage to the Wests Tigers legend, saying he changed the landscape of rugby league in New Zealand for an entire generation.

Marshall is rooming with Johnson this week, ahead of their international Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart on Saturday.

The 34-year-old said his recall, and the resulting admiration from his new teammates, has been overwhelming.

"It's humbling," said Marshall.

"I actually get embarrassed because I am still playing," he added. "If I was retired and that then yeah, all good. But I am still playing against some of these guys.

"Shaun [Johnson] gave me the nicest compliment last night. He said, 'Bro, I honestly think you changed the way all the kids - especially in New Zealand - wanted to play rugby league.'"

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The NRL star admitted he had to go into the bathroom to compose himself during a team photoshoot. Source: 1 NEWS

As a 20-year-old in 2005, Marshall led the Wests Tigers to an NRL premiership title after defeating the Cowboys 30-16.

"I was just like taken aback that he [Johnson] actually said that to me," Marshall said. "I have heard people say it before, but when it comes from your peers and people you play with it's just like, 'Woah'.

"This is probably the most proudest moment in my career."

Marshall went on to clinch a Rugby League World Cup championship for the Kiwis in 2008 after defeating arch rivals the Kangaroos 34-20 in Brisbane.

Marshall again had a hand in guiding the Kiwis to victory in the 2010 Four Nations final against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, coming from behind to beat the Kangaroos 16-12.

The last time Marshall played for the Kiwis was in 2012.

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Marshall said he feels "embarrassed" getting praise from his teammates about his impact on rugby league in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS


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