Te Maire Martin named fullback for Brisbane Broncos’ clash with Canterbury Bulldogs, marking remarkable NRL return

Te Maire Martin will take to an NRL field for the first time in 1,092 days on Friday after being named at fullback for a reshuffled Brisbane Broncos side.

Being named the Brisbane number one for the game against Canterbury completes his return from a brain bleed that forced him into early retirement in 2020.

Coach Kevin Walters will field the 15th different spine combination in just his 31st game in charge, with Martin set to play his first NRL game since round seven in 2019 — almost exactly three years ago, also against the Bulldogs — when he was with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Coincidentally, Martin made his debut for the Penrith Panthers against the Broncos back in 2016, scoring a try and kicking the game-winning field goal, signalling the start of a brilliant career that has been too often hampered by rotten luck.

Season-ending shoulder and knee injuries cost him years in Penrith and North Queensland, before scans revealed a brain bleed in 2020 that forced the one-time Kiwi Test star into premature retirement.

Martin played in the halves for the Broncos in a preseason trial game after receiving medical clearance to return to rugby league.

The 26-year-old has been named at fullback for Friday’s game in place of Tesi Niu, who tore his hamstring in the Broncos’ 40-12 loss to Penrith, while Tyson Gamble will be at five-eighth with Billy Walters moved to the bench.

Starting hooker Jake Turpin has also been dropped in favour of Cory Paix, meaning halfback and captain Adam Reynolds is the only member of the spine from last week’s game to keep his spot.

Props Payne Haas and Tom Flegler are back after serving suspensions.

The Bulldogs have been forced into two changes with Aaron Schoupp replacing Braidon Burns (hamstring) at centre and Corey Waddell coming in for Chris Patolo (concussion) in the second row.

ABC/AAP

Reference-www.abc.net.au

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