Townsville Bulletin - - EXCLUSIVE -

IT’S been great to spend some qual­ity time on the train­ing pad­dock with my new halves part­ner Te Maire Martin be­fore we have a tough game against the Roost­ers to­mor­row night.

We had only trained to­gether three times be­fore this week and played just three games which was not ideal, but it seems to have worked for us so far.

We have had the chance to do a bit more footy- spe­cific stuff at train­ing now and not just the cap­tain’s run, which is more of a team ses­sion.

Te Maire has al­ready picked up our struc­tures and game plan re­ally well. He has taken full re­spon­si­bil­ity to learn ev­ery­thing, which is credit to him. It has re­ally showed in the way he has played his first few games since com­ing into the side.

It’s re­ally im­por­tant that we keep work­ing on our com­bi­na­tions be­cause ev­ery­one knows we have a tough run to fin­ish the sea­son, but we also see it as a good chal­lenge.

We’ve put our­selves in a po­si­tion to take it on and try to se­cure a top­four spot.

We know go­ing for­ward that we’ve got a few big games com­ing up, but we can’t look too far ahead be­cause the Roost­ers are up the top of the ta­ble for a rea­son.

They have been one of the better NRL sides for the last few years and I think Mitchell Pearce has been one of the best halves in the com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son.

He’s been in great form for the Roost­ers and I’m sure he’s put the Ori­gin stuff be­hind him like ev­ery­one else now so he can just con­cen­trate on club footy.

He will lead them around re­ally well and I’ll have to do the same for our team. I don’t like to over­think things or put un­nec­es­sary pres­sure on my­self, but that’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity.

I’m ex­pect­ing it to be a tough, phys­i­cal game up against their big for­ward pack with play­ers like Dy­lan Napa and Jared Waerea- Har­g­reaves.

There’s been a lot of talk about pro­tect­ing play­mak­ers from big hits this week af­ter Sia So­li­ola was sus­pended for his late tackle on Billy Slater, but I think it’s hard to put a blan­ket rule in place to stop it from hap­pen­ing.

It’s al­ways spo­ken about af­ter there’s an in­jury like in Billy’s case, but it doesn’t seem to change any­thing. It’s just part of the game and we’ve got to try to be smarter about it.

There are cer­tain play­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion who like to put on big hits more than oth­ers, but I think for play­mak­ers like my­self it’s just about be­ing aware of who you’re up against and your po­si­tion on the field.

FAST LEARNER: Te Maire Martin has quickly picked up the Cow­boys’ struc­ture and game plan. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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