Martin learn­ing at feet of the mas­ter

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUX­WORTH jonathon. tux­worth@ news. com. au

TE Maire Martin’s mare has sud­denly into ev­ery young maker’s dream.

On the outer at Pen­rith and lan­guish­ing in re­serve grade ear­lier this sea­son, the 21- year- old is now get­ting midgame tips from Cow­boys cham­pion Johnathan Thurston.

Af­ter Satur­day’s 24- 12 home win over the Warriors, Martin re­vealed a few choice words from the four- time Dally M medal­list helped his game af­ter scores were dead­locked 12- all at half­time. night­turned play-

Thurston may be out for the year but Martin is down­load­ing as much in­for­ma­tion from the su­per­star into his sys­tem as pos­si­ble.

“Ob­vi­ously he got in­jured and I got my time be­fore I thought I would, but he’s still around and help­ing me out,” Martin said.

“He had a lit­tle chat to me at half­time and af­ter the game. I think he’ll be sick of me ask­ing ques­tions soon.

“You’ve got Greeny ( coach Paul Green) there too who was a re­ally good half­back, and they’ve both got a good mind for the game.

“If I can take on as much as I can it can only im­prove me as a play­maker.”

Asked what words of wis­dom Thurston of­fered at the break, Martin said: “Just about short sides and try­ing to get in­volved more. That if they’ve got num­bers on the short side, to roll around and be an ex­tra num­ber on the open side.

“It’s stuff I didn’t think about too much but it makes a lot of sense.”

Iron­i­cally Kiwi in­terna- tional Martin could have been play­ing against the Cow­boys on Satur­day af­ter at­tract­ing strong in­ter­est to re­turn to his home­land from the Warriors.

But the Cow­boys swooped late to get their man and Martin is now pre­par­ing to play semi- fi­nal foot­ball.

“I’m grate­ful I had a few choices to make but the Cow­boys was the bet­ter op­tion for me,” Martin said.

“To have Johnathan Thurston here, the best half in the world, to learn from was only go­ing to make my game bet­ter.

“I was think­ing about the fu­ture at the time with my man­ager and it seemed to be the best de­ci­sion.

“It ( stint in Pen­rith’s re- serve grade team) made me end up here, so I’m thank­ful that hap­pened.”

The Cow­boys have adopted a sim­ple at­tack­ing style since Thurston was ruled out for the sea­son with a shoul­der in­jury, which has helped Martin ad­just quicker.

“It is ( help­ing), ev­ery­one knows their role and what to do,” Martin said.

“I’m slowly get­ting the drift of it all and un­der­stand­ing how the game plan works. I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it.”

The fifth- placed Cow­boys have won four straight with­out Thurston, but their quest for a top four spot be­comes more dif­fi­cult with clashes against heavy­weights the Roost­ers, Storm, Pan­thers and de­fend­ing pre­miers the Sharks.

WAR­RIOR WALL: North Queens­land Cow­boys half Te Maire Martin in ac­tion against the New Zealand Warriors at 1300SMILES Sta­dium. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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