Penrith young gun Te Maire Martin has hinted he’s ready to fire this season after setting up his side’s 20-10 NRL trial win over Canterbury at Belmore Sports Ground.
Martin endured a rollercoaster 2016 – kicking the winning field goal in a dream debut against Brisbane before missing the back half of the season with a shoulder injury.
He then made his Test debut for New Zealand in the end-of-year Four Nations.
His six appearances for the Panthers whet their fans’ appetites and he now looks set to form a dynamic halves pairing with fellow boom rookie Nathan Cleary.
He could have returned for the Panthers in the latter stage of last year but with Bryce Cartwright firing at No.6 the Panthers chose to wrap him in cotton wool and field him in NSW Cup.
With the game being played in steamy 33C conditions, Martin turned up the heat, laying on his side’s second try for Corey Harawira-Naera as the visitors jumped to a 10-6 lead at halftime.
Former Junior Kangaroos Dylan Edwards looks set to push for a centre or wing position after enjoying several nice touches at fullback in a strong display.
David Klemmer was barely recognisable with a full head of hair and beard but was back to his menacing best for the Bulldogs playing at No.13.
Bulldogs skipper James Graham had a 30-minute stint while a slimmed down Sam Kasiano had an almost immediate impact when he came off the bench, producing the offload that led to Danny Fualolo’s first-half try.
Kiwi international Dean Whare – who missed most of last year with a knee injury – did his fight for a spot in the Panthers backline no harm, crossing for the first try of the night.
The second half was largely played between the two sides’ NSW Cup teams, with the coaches giving players a break in the searing heat.