The New Zealand Warriors have found their replacement for fullback Reece Walsh when he leaves for Brisbane next year, announcing the arrival of New Zealand international Te Maire Martin on a three-year deal.
The move equates to a swap of sorts, with Martin making his way from Red Hill to the Warriors’ camp as Walsh heads the other way.
Prior to his NRL return, the 29-year-old re-entered the world of rugby league through the NZ-based Waikato Rugby League, playing for the Taharoa Steelers.
Martin was one of the feel-good stories of 2022. He returned to the field during the Broncos revival after 1092 days away from top-flight rugby league due to a brain bleed diagnosis that threatened to end his career.
The former Panther and Cowboy was signed by Brisbane on a development deal and he’s since impressed some solid showings in nine NRL appearances this year, scoring a try in the Round 12 win over the Titans.
Though coach Kevin Walters mentioned in May that the Broncos were negotiating to keep Martin at the club, the confirmation of Walsh’s arrival, as well as the competition for spots with the likes of Tesi Niu, means both parties are happy to move on.
Despite his relatively brief return, Martin is in the running to join New Zealand’s World Cup squad for the end-of-year tournament in England. Just eight games into his comeback he was selected in the Kiwis squad for their home Test against Tonga in June.
“I’m pretty excited to be honest. I’ve been out for three years and been back eight games – to get into the Kiwis squad is amazing,” Martin said at the time.
“Obviously the selectors think you’re doing something right but I think it’s a reflection of how the Broncos are going. Whether I play or not, I’m not too fussed.
“I’m just really excited and stoked to be a part of it.”