SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 26: Te Maire Martin of the Cowboys runs with the ball during the round 7 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on April 26, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

At the beginning of 2020, Te Maire Martin thought his professional sporting career had come to a close.

The New Zealand international suffered bleeding in the brain whilst playing for the Cowboys and was given the order to hang up the boots.

Since his early retirement Martin has miraculously made a full recovery and has signed a development contract with the Brisbane Broncos.

Te Maire’s yearning desire to return back to the NRL was evident during his time off from the game. Martin returned to his native country of New Zealand where he spent a large sum of his time fishing, pig hunting and working as a heavy machine operator.

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Eventually, the former Cowboy made his way back onto the paddock, playing local rugby league when told he had made a full recovery, which saw his desire to make an NRL return ignite.

“When I first had it and got the scans, the doctor said I had a bleed. I was asking how long I’d be out for and if I’d be right for the next game and he said ‘you’ll probably be out for the rest of the year’,” Martin told The Daily Telegraph.

“That was the hardest bit, not being able to play when I really wanted to.

“I couldn’t go outside, I was sensitive to light so I was locking myself in the room. My parents had to come over and cook me meals.

“The specialist at the time said they couldn’t pin down what happened. If I got hit in the head by someone they could say that’s what it was from and if you let it heal you’ll be back.

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“But they couldn’t put their finger on how it happened. They went through all the video and I never got a big hit to the head.

“No one said I’d be out forever and couldn’t play again.”

Martin’s career begun with the Wests Tigers after graduating from rugby league nursery Keebra Park State High School, where he played an integral part of the Holden Cup side in 2014 and 2015.

In 2016 he was off to the Panthers where he only played 13 games and was released to the North Queensland Cowboys where he remained until he was forced into temporary retirement.

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“When I first had it and got the scans, the doctor said I had a bleed. I was asking how long I’d be out for and if I’d be right for the next game and he said ‘you’ll probably be out for the rest of the year’,” Martin said.

“That was the hardest bit, not being able to play when I really wanted to.

“I couldn’t go outside, I was sensitive to light so I was locking myself in the room. My parents had to come over and cook me meals.

“The specialist at the time said they couldn’t pin down what happened. If I got hit in the head by someone they could say that’s what it was from and if you let it heal you’ll be back.

“But they couldn’t put their finger on how it happened. They went through all the video and I never got a big hit to the head.

“No one said I’d be out forever and couldn’t play again.”

After eight months on the sideline Martin felt compelled to call it a day with the Cowboys, realising that he was taking up a spot in the squad. Shortly after leaving the Townsville based side Martin returned back home to New Zealand to be closer with family and friends.

“I was doing a lot of surfing, pig hunting and fishing, keeping myself busy,” he said.

“But that doesn’t pay any bills so I had to go and find myself a job. We didn’t get along too well — me and working.

“The only healing I could do for it was to rest.

“I got a job pushing sand with big machines. It was 12 hours a day sitting down so that healed it pretty well.

“I did that for a year and then carried on with the scans and it got better with the rest and no contact.

“The specialist gave me the green light at the end of last year.

“I’m stoked that’s over because I was pretty much paying rent in the MRI machines. It’s good to get out of those.”

The Broncos weren’t the only club to try and secure the former Kiwi international on a train and trial contract, however Martin is excited at the prospect of lining up alongside former South Sydney playmaker Adam Reynolds.

1 COMMENT

  1. What a good story. Good on him. I don’t know how many spots the Broncos have left in their roster but I wouldn’t be surprised if he secures one, he was a very talented player.

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