NRL Rd 9 - Sharks v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Liam Martin of the Panthers waves to the crowd after the Panthers won the round nine NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The feeling is bittersweet for NSW rookie Liam Martin ahead of his debut Origin game next week.

The 24-year-old was a late call-up for the NSW side following his strong form for the Panthers.

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Throughout his career, Martin has carried the tragic loss of his brother after he took his own life seven years ago.

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Martin spoke to Nine News Sunday about how the thrill of being selected has made him reflect on the memory of his late brother.

"I actually shed a tear driving in thinking back on it," Martin said. "Hopefully I do my brother proud."

“I actually enjoy talking about him, it sort of keeps the memory alive. He’d be ecstatic. He was the first person who saw anything in me, he had belief in me before anyone else did.

“It’s probably my most vivid memory, just hearing the news, I can pretty much recount it detail for detail.”

With player well-being a growing focus for the NRL, Martin hopes that his brothers story will help raise awareness around mental health.

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“Looking back now, we talk about it between our brothers and sisters, if we had known what we know now we probably would have recognised some signs," Martin explained.

“We want to raise the awareness and remove the stigma of mental health. It’s not weak to talk about your emotions.”

The emotional debut game for Martin will take place in front of a sell-out crowd in Townsville next Wednesday.

If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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