Player out of retirement and set for first full season since brain bleed

Many players will be excited and anxious for the upcoming season but Te Maire Martin of the New Zealand Warriors is more excited than most as he will be returning home to play after an early retirement in 2020.

Martin officially returned in April of this year however due to the pandemic restrictions all NRL games were limited to Australia, meaning the Kiwi international is yet to play on home turf in the NRL.

Only 55 games into his NRL career it was discovered that Martin had a bleed on the brain which triggered him to immediately hang up the boots, however he’s now back and excited to return to his native New Zealand.

“I didn’t think I was going to come back and play for the Warriors, to be honest, as much as I’ve wanted to,” Martin said in an NZ Warriors interview.

“It’s just always worked out somewhere else, somewhere different and when Webby (Webster) did give me a call, I was really keen. It’s always good to be home … it means a lot more when you’re playing for somewhere where you’re from.”

Now aged 27 Martin has signed with the Warriors having played his career so far for Australian sides Penrith, North Queensland and then Brisbane who picked him up and granted him a return to professional rugby in April this year.

That return came in round seven of the league year and he played a further 12 times for the Broncos, but he has now signed for the sole New Zealand side in the competition and is clearly very pleased to be home.

“I’m just excited to get into the season and rip in. I’m looking forward to getting back in the frontline and being around the ball a bit more.

“Wherever Webby wants me to go, I’m happy to go there. I’m just excited to be back here with the Warriors and pretty keen to put the jersey on.”

Martin also revealed that the head injury that initiated the bleed on his brain actually happened at Mount Smart Stadium, home for the Warriors so his return is somewhat of a fairytale.

“The head injury, that started actually the game we (Cowboys) played here (at Mt Smart Stadium in 2019),” Martin explained.

“After that game, I started getting headaches all week (and I) wasn’t too sure what it was. It got to the point where it started getting really bad (and was) really consistent, so I went and (saw) the doctor. They sent me to the hospital and I got scans and that’s when they (saw) there was a little brain bleed at the back.”

Martin has made four appearances for the Kiwis on the international stage and will hope that this return to familiar surroundings can trigger another international call-up as he’s set to start his first full season since 2018.

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