Papua New Guinea’s Rhyse Martin looking forward to showing Leeds Rhinos team-mates Ash Handley and Stevie Ward round his homeland

LEEDS RHINOS forward Rhyse Martin is hoping to cross swords with a couple of familiar faces in November.

Saturday, 21st September 2019, 6:00 am
Rhyse Martin

Martin is set to add to his nine Test caps when Papua New Guinea face Great Britain in Port Moresby.

Great Britain’s performance squad includes Rhinos winger Ash Handley and forward Stevie Ward and Martin said: “Hopefully both the boys, Ash and Wardy, will be playing.

“It will be an experience for those boys to get over there and play in PNG. That will be exciting for them and I’ll take them out and show them a few places!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Stevie Ward

“For us, PNG, to get to play Great Britain is really a step in the right direction for us as a country.”

Test duty will cut into Martin’s autumn break, but he is already looking forward to getting back to pre-season training with Rhinos.

“I’ve got two weeks at home and then the international stuff,” he confirmed.

“I’ll do that and then get a month once I’ve finished my last game there.

Ash Handley

“It’ll be good to get back to some summer over there and get the sun again, which will be nice, but I am looking forward to coming back and starting the season strong.”

Martin is upbeat about Leeds’ prospects next year.

He added: “I reckon we have got a team that can get all the way to the finals and maybe take it out. There’s not going to be much change to the squad we’ve got and that’s a positive.

“We can just build on that over the pre-season.

“I think we have got to build our culture and what we want to do.

“We need to set those goals and little things to achieve throughout the season to keep motivated.

“We have got a bit to work on, but I am very positive and looking forward to it.”

Signed from Canterbury Bulldogs in July, Martin has quickly become a fans’ favourite.

As well as adding a new dimension on attack, the 26-year-old – whose touchdown in last month’s home win over Catalans Dragons was voted Rhinos’ try of the year – has solved a major problem with his goal kicking.

Rhinos had been without a specialist marksman since Kevin Sinfield’s rugby league retirement four years ago, but Martin has kicked 34 goals from 40 attempts – an 85 per cent success rate – in his nine games for the club.

After missing with his first two kicks for Leeds, he landed 10 goals from 10 attempts against Catalans and had a 100 per cent record – 12 from 12 –over the final three games of the season. Martin said: “I am enjoying my footy which is the main thing.

“I am happy, I am really loving this place and everyone’s made me feel welcome. We wanted to finish the season strong.

“When I got here we set a goal to finish the last half of the year with more wins than losses and we did that.

“That’s a positive moving into next season.”