Martin ready for halves battle
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 even 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's been happy with his preseason so far as he focuses on fitness and building muscle, but the 23-year-old felt he still had plenty of hard work ahead to lock down the playmaking role.
"It's too early to say at the moment. 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 around 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 couple of 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 opportunity 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."