MARTIN PLAYS DOWN NO.6 HYPE

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER [email protected]

TE MAIRE Martin in­sists he doesn’t ex­pect to be handed the va­cant Cow­boys No. 6 jersey de­spite coach Paul Green say­ing he is the fron­trun­ner to part­ner Michael Mor­gan in the halves this sea­son.

One of the big­gest ques­tions for the Cow­boys in 2019 is just who will re­place re­tired cham­pion Johnathan Thurston, with Martin and ris­ing star Jake Clif­ford emerg­ing as the top con­tenders.

Martin spent much of last sea­son deputis­ing for hooker Jake Granville as a bench util­ity and filled in at full­back for five games, but he said his pre­ferred po­si­tion was five-eighth.

Green told me­dia be­fore the Christ­mas break that he favoured Martin’s ex­pe­ri­ence ahead of Clif­ford while Thurston has also pub­licly backed the Kiwi half as the best fit to re­place him.

Martin said he’d been happy with his pre­sea­son so far as he fo­cused on fit­ness and build­ing mus­cle, but the 23year-old felt he still had plenty of hard work ahead to lock down the play­mak­ing role.

“It’s too early to say. I’m not too sure if he (Green) has got the team fully locked in yet so I’m not think­ing too far ahead,” Martin said.

“I don’t think the jersey’s just go­ing to get given to me so I’ve got to work hard.

“There’s a lot of play­ers re­ally push­ing for it as well. I started off just get­ting my weight up and putting on a bit of mus­cle and not fat, but I think we’ll get more into de­tail in the next few weeks on what he (Green) wants me to do.

“It’s a re­ally im­por­tant year for me, es­pe­cially be­cause I’m com­ing off con­tract at the end of the year, so I’m look­ing to try and re­ally work hard on my po­si­tional stuff.”

Martin was a mid-sea­son re­cruit from the Pan­thers in 2017 and said he was keen to stay in North Queens­land which has only added to his mo­ti­va­tion on the field.

“They gave me a big op­por- tu­nity when I left the Pan­thers and I was grate­ful for that.

“Ever since I’ve come up here I’ve re­ally en­joyed my time and ev­ery­one’s easy to get along with,” Martin said.

“The whole com­mu­nity is re­ally nice so I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it up here and I would like to stay, but I’ve got to do the hard work and let the footy talk for it­self.”

Martin has been train­ing with the re­hab group since re­turn­ing from the fes­tive break af­ter suf­fer­ing an an­kle in­jury while back home in New Zealand, but he was con­fi­dent it was only a mi­nor set­back.

“I was just muck­ing around back in New Zealand with the mates … not a good party story or any­thing,” he joked.

“Just a lit­tle knock over the break, but noth­ing se­ri­ous.

“It’s all good and I’m still run­ning around.”

I DON’T THINK THE JERSEY’S JUST GO­ING TO GET GIVEN TO ME SO I’VE GOT TO WORK HARD TE MAIRE MARTIN

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

FIGHT­ING CHANCE: Te Maire Martin goes through his paces dur­ing Cow­boys train­ing at 1300SMILES Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

Pic­tures: ZAK SIM­MONDS

HOT WORK: Cow­boys for­ward Jor­dan Mclean throws a pass dur­ing a swel­ter­ing train­ing ses­sion at 1300SMILES Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

DE­TER­MINED: Te Maire Martin at Cow­boys train­ing yes­ter­day.

Michael Mor­gan is all smiles dur­ing yes­ter­day’s train­ing ses­sion.

Cow­boys play­ers go through their paces dur­ing the morn­ing train­ing ses­sion.

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