There was only one person Liam Martin was genuinely concerned about after Queensland branded him a “grub” today.
“It sort of came out of the blue,” Martin told nswrl.com.au.
“I didn’t mind. I think Mum was more rattled than me. She was like, “You’re not a grub” and I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.”
Martin was happy to laugh off the allegations today that he had crossed the line in Game One of the Ampol State of Origin series. The Blues back-rower was accused of several unsavoury acts involving swinging arms, forearms and elbows to put the Maroons off their game.
The bad press was addressed by Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, who reassured his players that he also had no issue with it and would like to see more of it for Game Two at Optus Stadium in Perth on Sunday night.
“Even ‘Freddy’ (Fittler) said he loved it and just to bring it again,” Martin said.
“He said, ‘Why did it take 65 minutes to start doing it? We might have to start doing it from the first minute.’
“I find both teams play with that passion and I grew up watching Paul Gallen and Nate Myles go at it so I tried to emulate that and I’ll probably bring it again.
“It’s footy after all, it’s played with aggression and things are going to happen. If you’re not doing that stuff, you’re probably not giving it your all.”
Martin is renowned as a tenacious defender who hits with plenty of conviction and he certainly tackled himself into the ground in the Game One loss in Sydney. He was second behind Damien Cook (54) on the tackle count with 50 to his name.
“I was pretty gassed, it was a lot more than what I was used to but I got through it,” he said.
“I didn’t get involved enough in attack which I’ll look to change in Game Two but I’ll still have defence as my number one priority for this game.
“We’re just fortunate that we have guys like Brian (To’o) and Daniel (Tupou) that can get through that work and get you out of trouble so you can get through that defence but I think we’ll try and share it around a bit more.”
While there have been plenty of critics lining up to question the performance after Game One, Martin knows they only went down 16-10 and were still in it up to the very final play when lock Isaah Yeo surged towards the line and stretched out only to fall agonisingly short.
“We were one metre out when the siren went and probably could have had an opportunity there if we had one more play but just to be in it for that long shows how competitive we were and if we can correct a few things we’ll go a long way,” he said.
“This camp has been good, it’s a little bit shorter than the last one so we’ve got stuck into the work a little bit earlier. I’m really enjoying it and coming over to Perth early in the week has been good.”
Martin’s Mum, Maxine Martin, has travelled a lot of kilometres watching her son play football since he was a young bloke and will also be making the trip to Perth for the must-win game.
“She wouldn’t miss it for the world, she’ll be there Sunday night and she’ll probably talk my ear off afterwards about being a grub ,” Martin said, laughing.