Tokoroa young gun eyes early return
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.’’
Panthers playmaker Te Maire Martin is hoping to get back on the field before the end of the season.