Te Maire Martin of the Cowboys attempts to stop Parramatta's Kenny Edwards from offloading.
Te Maire Martin of the Cowboys attempts to stop Parramatta's Kenny Edwards from offloading. DEAN LEWINS

Martin's off-the-ball work paying off for Cowboys

TE Maire Martin's first try assist for the Cowboys was worth the wait.

In his 10th game for the club since his shift from the Panthers, the five-eighth's superb inside ball put Coen Hess over to give them an 18-10 lead over Parramatta on Saturday.

It was a huge moment in the context of the Cowboys' season, and the 21-year-old was already aware it broke his duck when asked about the play afterwards.

"When you get someone like Coen Hess close to the line, you try and hit him," Martin said.

"That's what I tried to do and he did all the work, I didn't have to do much."

It's little surprise his assists numbers are low, given the role he has undertaken at the Cowboys.

With halves partner Michael Morgan dominating and steering the side around, Martin has unleashed his running game and has scored four tries as a result.

He said "staying alive" in games had been the biggest lesson he'd taken from Morgan and injured skipper Johnathan Thurston.

"Probably just trying to be an option (is the biggest thing they've taught me)," Martin said. "Instead of sitting on the short side doing nothing, I try to push inside Morgo or push around the ball, and trying to get my hands on it as much as I can.

"It puts the defence in two minds when the halves have the ball and have runners off you."

Martin, who has carried a knee injury through the latter stages of the season, said he was focusing more on his work without the ball in the finals.

Four of the five tries the Cowboys have conceded in two finals games have been through poor luck, not defensive ill-discipline.

"I came into this (Eels) game with a defensive mindset. They've got some good attack, Parramatta, and if we defended well we'd go close to winning the game," Martin said.

News Corp Australia

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