North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green has named Te Maire Martin at five-eighth to take on the Canberra Raiders, with the new recruit the only change in the side that snatched victory from the Panthers in Round 16.
Green is pleased with the progress Martin has made fitting in with his new teammates, and is confident that the young half will be able to fill his role in the team.
"I think [Martin] is a pretty smart kid, he's learning pretty quickly so the sooner we get him in there the sooner we get him up to speed," Green said.
The move could pay off for Green with the finals fast approaching, as team stability becomes crucial after the State of Origin period finishes. While Martin has had minimal opportunity to train or play with halves partner Michael Morgan due to the latter's Origin commitments, Green is hopeful the pair will be able to adapt.
"They haven't really trained a hell of a lot because 'Morgo' has been on Origin duty and those guys had the early part of this week off to give them a bit of a freshen-up. But [Martin] has fit in pretty well, he's a pretty smart kid and is picking it up pretty quickly," Green said.
With halfback Johnathan Thurston out for the season Green isn't looking for anything exceptional from his players, but rather a dedication to their own roles in the team to get the Cowboys over the line week-to-week.
"As long as [Martin] does his job that's all I ask for at this stage. It's all pretty new to him, it's been a bit of a whirlwind for him. At the very least all I expect of him is to make sure he is doing his job well," he said.
The decision comes after a purple patch of form for the Cowboys through the Origin period, and Green is eager to maintain a winning combination of players.
"I think our last six weeks of the comp we've been playing some very good footy. We've had a couple of close losses and for the ones that we have lost we've had some good wins in there too and I think we're playing a pretty good brand of footy and need to build on that," Green said.