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Panthers back-rower Liam Martin.

The skills used for Liam Martin's match-winning effort against Parramatta last Friday were developed in a country town 25 kilometres west of Temora.

On the same day teenage sensation Stephen Crichton spoke of his days playing Aussie Rules as a youngster, Martin detailed how he used the code as a way to socialise with his mates while growing up in the Riverina.

Martin would travel 20 minutes to play for Ariah Park, which has a population of just over 500, to ensure his hometown Temora had some opposition.

"I was more of a fill-in and just made up the numbers," Martin said.

"I'd play against a couple of my mates so I would go out and target them.

Koroisau no longer dazed, nor distracted by sky blue dream

"I was pretty surprised [about the try against Parramatta], it sort of just fell in my hands. We practice it a bit after training, myself, Nathan [Cleary] and Nado [Brent Naden] – it was good it just actually came off."

The 23-year-old has enjoyed a breakout season with the Panthers after making his NRL debut under trying circumstances in 2019.

More recently he knocked back a cheeky chance to join Panthers assistant coach and cousin Trent Barrett at the Bulldogs next season, such was his desire to remain at the club that gave him his first opportunity.

Martin flies above the pack

Barrett agreed to join the Bulldogs in July with Martin putting pen to a new deal with the Panthers a month later.

"When the opportunity came up to re-sign he sort of said he's more than happy for me to stay at Penrith," Martin said.

"He knows I'm happy here and said to go with what I was feeling. This year has been incredible so far, it's a huge honour and I'm quite happy with how the football is going.

"We're just all good blokes and get along. We've formed quite a tight bond through SG Ball and under 20s so I think that's a big part of it."

The Panthers will be without experienced trio James Tamou, Api Koroisau and Zane Tetevano for Friday's trip to Townsville.

The same-day travel and humid conditions are expected to challenge Ivan Cleary's men in their bid to secure the minor premiership.

Martin hasn't sat out a game since round four but was given a reprieve by Ivan Cleary earlier in the week.

"I had a rest yesterday at training so am more than happy to be out there," he said.

"It's case-by-case and to do with GPS. The performance staff looks after that side of it and make the judgement call as to who gets a rest.

"It's a big game for [the Cowboys], they'll be looking to finish the season on a high and it's a tough trip going up there but I think we're more than ready for them."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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