The impact off the bench of hardworking forward Jesse Martin is set to have a positive impact for Manly’s Holden Cup side this Saturday.
Martin will make a welcome return to the Sea Eagles pack for the preliminary final clash against St George-Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium after watching on nervously over the past fortnight.
The talented lock and Sea Eagles captain copped a two game suspension for a lifting tackle in the round 26 loss to Penrith at Lottoland.
Two days later, Martin took home the team’s Players’ Player award for the year at the Sea Eagles presentation night.
At the time, Martin could well have thought his season was over after playing in 25 matches of the regular season.
However, the eighth-placed Sea Eagles lifted to upset the fifth-placed Nth Qld Cowboys in week one before demolishing minor premiers Cronulla last weekend.
Manly Coach Wayne Lambkin has named Martin on the interchange bench for the Dragons clash, saying he was reluctant to change the successful formula of the past fortnight.
Lambkin also wants Martin not to think he ‘owes’ his team-mates.
“I have spoken to Jesse about giving us a new dimension coming off the bench,’’ Lambkin said.
“It is a big bonus for us. We will need his enthusiasm, his defensive work, his strong running, especially when the opposition gets tired.
“I see it as a massive game for us to have him doing that role. Jesse is happy to do it.”
Holden Cup Preliminary Final
Manly Sea Eagles v St George-Illawarra Dragons
Saturday September 16, 2.30pm, Allianz Stadium