Opportunity is everything and with the chance to learn under Johnathan Thurston over the next 12-18 months, the chance to develop was too good to pass up for Te Maire Martin.
Released by the Penrith Panthers, many fans thought that he and Nathan Cleary would be the halves combination of the future for the club but with that now not happening, all the signs point to a move to the North Queensland Cowboys for Martin.
He drew praise from Phil Gould, Penrith’s Executive General Manager, who wished him all the best.
“Te Maire came to us with the hope of developing his career,” Gould said.
“He made his NRL debut at the Panthers and it led to him earning representative honours for New Zealand at the Four Nations.
“I have no doubt Te Maire will have a long and successful career in the NRL, and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Courted by the Cowboys previously, Martin eventually chose Penrith but is pleased to finally have the chance to join the Townsville-based club.
“I went up there when I was looking at Penrith and I ended up choosing the Panthers,” he said.
“It’s pretty good that they still keen on getting me there even though I turned them down that time. They obviously have Morgan and Thurston up there, so I’m not sure what’s happening. But I’m keen to learn.”
Further to his initial statement, Gould went on to say the following:
“Te Maire Martin is an outstanding young man, of impeccable character, and extremely popular with everyone at this club.
“During his time here at Panthers I could not fault Te Maire’s honesty or integrity. He displayed a wonderful work ethic, constantly looking to improve his game.
“I know everyone at Panthers is sorry to see Te Maire leave, however, we understand his new club will provide a wonderful opportunity for his development as an NRL player. His new club has recruited a terrific young man and a very talented young footballer.
“I know I speak for every single person in our club, from our Board, Management, coaches, staff and all our players, in wishing Te Maire all the best for the future.
“We will all follow his career with great interest and we will be cheering for him every time he plays.”
After being granted a release by the Panthers, the Cowboys reacted quickly with a view to signing Martin and they know just how talented he is.
“We always keep an eye on the player market, and when a chance to sign a quality player comes up, we explore that opportunity in line with our recruitment needs,” said Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr.
“Te Maire is a very good young footballer with plenty of potential and we’re pleased that he will join our NRL squad for the remainder of this season and beyond.
“He will add important depth to the halves position and we look forward to him learning and further developing his skills under our coaching staff.”
A key factor for Martin’s move is to have the chance at working alongside Johnathan Thurston, the game’s best half in the eyes of many.
“I’m at the early stages of my learning so what better way to learn than from JT himself,” he said.