Toko­roa young gun eyes early re­turn

South Waikato News - - Out & About - MARVIN FRANCE

He may be only six games into his ca­reer but boom Kiwi young­ster Te Maire Martin has al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced enough highs and lows to last a sea­son.

The Toko­roa-born 20-year-old Pen­rith play­maker an­nounced him­self to the NRL in stun­ning fash­ion back in round three, scor­ing a try and kick­ing the win­ning field-goal on de­but to beat the Bron­cos.

Five weeks later he was ruled out for the rest of the sea­son with a dis­placed shoul­der.

Martin has since been told that the in­jury does not re­quire surgery and is a chance to re­turn by Septem­ber.

But even if he doesn’t get back on the field again this sea­son, the for­mer Ju­nior Kiwi is still pinch­ing him­self over what he has achieved in the brief pe­riod of time.

‘‘I got to play against (Johnathan) Thurston and I got to play against (Ben) Hunt and (An­thony) Mil­ford,’’ said Te Maire.

Martin’s jour­ney to the NRL has fol­lowed a sim­i­lar route to Benji Mar­shall, and the com­par­isons have flooded in as a re­sult.

Both are hot-step­ping halves and like Mar­shall, Martin at­tended renowned rugby league nurs­ery Kee­bra Park High School on the Gold Coast af­ter be­ing en­cour­aged by his Queens­land­based aunty to at­tend an open trial.

From there, he was signed by the Wests Tigers and went on to star in the un­der-20s, im­press­ing Ki­wis coach Stephen Kear­ney enough to in­clude him in his train-on squad last year de­spite hav­ing yet to play first grade.

Martin signed with Pen­rith last sea­son in the hope of de­vel­op­ing his game un­der ex­pe­ri­enced halves Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.

He’s also re­ceived plenty of ad­vice on deal­ing with his in­jury from flat­mate and Pan­thers cap­tain Matt Moy­lan.

The star full­back has only re­cently re­turned from a back prob­lem and has been prov­ing his value in more ways than one.

‘‘Hav­ing him around is re­ally good be­cause he’s had a few in­juries and he knows it’s pretty tough.

‘‘Even just lit­tle stuff like try­ing to cook, fold­ing my clothes and wash­ing my clothes. I can’t move my shoul­der too much so he’s been a real big help.’’

MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES

Pan­thers play­maker Te Maire Martin is hop­ing to get back on the field be­fore the end of the sea­son.

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