State of Origin 2022: NSW forward Liam Martin admits he’s a grub, brushes off Maroons criticism

Liam Martin’s Blues teammates agree with the Maroons — the NSW forward is a grub, and they plan to follow his lead and amp up their aggression, which is set to ignite State of Origin II.
Get ready Queensland, you’ll be facing 17 fired-up Liam Martins in Perth on Sunday night.
The soft serve Blues from Origin I are finished and in their place is a no-holds barred NSW side inspired by accusations from inside the Maroons camp that backrower Martin is a grub.
Those claims on top of Blues advisor Greg Alexander saying NSW were too nice in the series opener have Brad Fittler’s side breathing fire for the return bout.
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Mixed with the feud between Queensland’s Felise Kaufusi and Angus Crichton over an elbow on Roosters halfback Sam Walker and the stage is set for an explosive clash.
Five-eighth Jarome Luai said the Blues would channel their inner Liam Martin and find the aggression that went missing for NSW in Sydney.

“Marto showed a bit of what we didn’t do in the ruck,” Luai said. “That’s what we mean when we spoke about being too nice, I don’t think we had enough Marto is us all.
“Hopefully we can be a bit more like him and get our timing right on Sunday night.”
Luai also said the Maroons camp would have to try a little harder to get a reaction out of the Blues, since Queensland only revealed something that is already well known about his tough Panthers teammate.
“Nah, I think I am agreeing with them, he is an actual grub,” Luai said.
“It’s pretty funny that they are saying that about him because that is what Origin footy is about. I think they are trying to find a way to flip it on us.
“But whatever happens out there, if they are going to target Marto I got his back and I am sure the other boys do as well.”
Martin did his best to play down the dig from the Maroons.
“I didn’t really mind it. I couldn’t care less,” Martin said. “That’s part of Origin and footy and what happens on the field. I probably am (a bit of a grub) and they’ll be into me… whatever they give I’ll give back.”
Martin was accused of going on a four-minute rampage in Origin I that included a swinging arm to the back of Cameron Munster’s head and then an elbow to the Queensland five-eighth’s ribs.
Then there was a forearm to the throat of centre Dane Gagai and a facial, with his head, on former Penrith teammate Kurt Capewell.
Martin’s aggression was a throwback to the days of the antics of Blues skipper and hitman and Paul Gallen. But the 25-year-old from Temora is embracing the tag of being the new NSW player that Queenslanders will love to hate.
“I’m not quite at his (Gallen’s) level. He was an outstanding player and the NSW captain. I think I’ve got a way to go before I’m on the level of Gal,” Martin said.
“Me and Capey (Capewell) have good battles because we’re good mates off the field and then we shake hands and have a laugh about it.
“I don’t mind it (having a target on my back) , they can come for me all they want and whatever I get I’ll give back.”
Capewell will be in Martin’s sights again on Sunday but so will Queensland’s own villain Kaufusi.
Martin trained on both edges in NSW first major field session since arriving in Perth on Monday.
“I think I’m going to play a bit of both. I have the ability to play on the left and the right and I play on the right at the Panthers,” Martin said.
“I’ve played both in the past and having Jarome (Luai) and Nathan (Cleary) alongside me makes it easy to adapt given I’ve played so much with them both.”
Here is the proof that Blues forward Liam Martin is NSW’s new Origin villain.
Six years after the retirement of Paul Gallen, Queensland finally has a new Blues player to hate.
Images obtained by The Courier-Mail show Martin’s four minutes of madness in Origin I as the Blues backrower went on a failed bid to spark NSW.
The Blues were trailing 16-4 on home soil at Accor Stadium in the 64th minute when Martin went on a grubby rampage to get under the skin of the Maroons.
Queensland hung on for a 16-10 win to take a 1-0 lead into Game Two in Perth on Sunday, which the Blues must win to send the series to a decider at Suncorp Stadium.
In the space of four minutes a frustrated Martin targeted Queensland’s man-of-the-match Cameron Munster twice and produced a series of feral plays to try to rattle the Maroons.
Martin’s offences included:
A swinging arm to the back of Munster’s head in the 64th minute after the Maroons five-eighth pounced on a loose ball and raced up the field.
A forearm to the throat of Queensland centre Dane Gagai in the 65th minute after another Blues turnover.
Rubbed his head in former Panthers teammate Kurt Capewell’s face following a strong tackle in the 67th minute.
Dug his elbow into Munster’s ribs in the 68th minute when Queensland was attacking NSW’s line. Martin wasn’t penalised for any of his offences after referee Ashley Klein put his whistle away for most of the match. To their credit, the Maroons didn’t react to Martin’s below-the-belt ploys and Capewell said he was looking forward to round two in the wild west.
“There is always a little bit of that niggle between players,” Capewell said.
“It’s something that makes Origin so good. It’s a game full of passion and ‘Marto’ has definitely got that in his game.
“He is definitely aggressive and a powerful player who can be hard to handle at times.
“Me and Marto get along really well. It’s always good to have a bit of a duel with one of your mates.
“I’ll be looking forward to that in game two. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
After being a late addition to the Blues’ starting side, Martin has been named in NSW’s run-on 13 for Sunday’s clash at Optus Stadium, his fifth Origin appearance.
And the Maroons are expecting the Penrith enforcer to come out swinging again with the series on the line.
“We’re aware of how much of an influence he can have on the game,” Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.
“Defensively, he gets stuck in and isn’t afraid to rough you up.
“That Panthers system has created a really hardworking mentality, in particular for the back-rowers, whether it’s (Viliame) Kikau or Liam Martin coming to get you, they do a lot of work from the inside and Martin brings a lot of those traits to the NSW team. “Liam gets through a lot of work and he is such a determined player. He never wants to let his teammates down, he gets stuck in and it’s really clear in his playing style.
“He makes a hell of a lot of tackles and he is always running nice and directly straight at the halves. For the smaller guys, he is hard to stop.”
Maroons forward Jai Arrow said Martin’s strength was his toughness and desire to do the hard work.
“He is a tough player,” he said. “He is in that team for a reason and has been doing a great job for Penrith. We have to be on defensively.”

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