Marshall lands Golden Boot

New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall has dedicated his 2010 Golden Boot award to his late father.

Marshall enjoyed a stellar season this year helping New Zealand lift the Four Nations trophy and Wests Tigers to the NRL preliminary final.

He beat off fellow nominees Shaun Kenny Dowall (NZ), Paul Gallen (Australia), James Graham (England), Billy Slater (Australia) and Sam Thaiday (Australia) to become the 25th winner of the award.

“To win this award, after coming back from three shoulder reconstructions, winning the Four Nations, and having my best ever year since I’ve started in the NRL, is pretty overwhelming,’’ Marshall said.

“I’m pretty excited. It is something I definitely won’t take for granted.”

Marshall said his late father would be very proud of his achievements after he passed away last year from cancer.

“Losing my Dad was pretty tough. He was my number one supporter. He watched every game I played in and would offer advice,’’ Marshall recalled.

“ I said at his funeral that I would dedicate this year to him. Before every game I said a prayer, something I normally don’t do, but I did it because I knew how much he loved his church.

“I not only wanted to play for myself but in memory for him.

“My mum has been keeping track of everything I do too, so she would be over the moon.”

Marshall paid tribute to team mates, Tigers coaching staff and in particular head coach Tim Sheens.

Sheens, who was Australia coach during the Four Nations tournament, said: “Things were not always going his way. There was a time in the middle of the season when people were on his back and the pressure was really on him.

“To come through that and win this award is a credit to him and it exemplifies his determination and perseverance to get the job done.”

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