Te Maire Martin set for early return

Injured Penrith playmaker Te Maire Martin is set to make a surprise return to the NRL field from what was set to be a season-ending shoulder injury.

Martin has returned to contact training at the Panthers and could be free to return to the NRL in time for the club’s round 21 game against the Warriors, according to hooker Peter Wallace.

“He was looking pretty good,” Wallace told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.

“I don’t think he’ll be right for this week but hopefully maybe the game after.

“Or the game after that at the latest.”

Martin displaced his shoulder in Penrith’s round eight loss to Cronulla in April.

By then, the 20-year-old had played six NRL matches, including his debut against Brisbane in round three where he scored a late try and kicked the match-winning goal.

“Te Maire Martin – fractured glenoid (shoulder). Displaced. Terrible injury, very painful & will require surgery Unfortunately out for season,” Penrith supremo Phil Gould wrote on Twitter at the time.

Martin’s return from injury would likely see him partnered with Nathan Cleary for the first time.

The pair played at rival under-20s clubs last season before Martin shifted from the Wests Tigers over the summer but are expected to be the future of the Penrith team.

It would also likely see highly heralded back-rower Bryce Cartwright move back to his preferred position on the edge, and out of five-eighth where he has played the past four matches.

“Hopefully we get Te Maire back soon and that will free Bryce up a little more,” Wallace said.

“He’s not a natural five-eighth but he’s got all the skills.

“Bryce can play anywhere, but probably his ideal position is in the back row.”

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