His omission from the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs side has many fans up in arms but Rhyse Martin has declared he needs to be ‘more aggressive’ if he’s to find himself in the Top 17 in the near future.
Martin enjoyed a breakout season in 2018 and emerged as one of the most exciting young forwards in the competition but has opened the new season with back-to-back games in the Canterbury Cup NSW.
Fans on social media have demanded for Martin to be included in their Round 3 clash against the Wests Tigers after consecutive defeats in the NRL, but the man himself gave a rather frank admission on his absence.
“Defensively, I can be a lot better and it’s something I’m working really hard on but I got to be aggressive,” Martin told NSWRL.com.au.
“Mentally I need to get that in my game and once I find that in my game, I’ll be up there.”
Martin starred for the Bulldogs in their 24-22 loss to the Wentworthville Magpies on Sunday with two tries in a dominant 80-minute performance.
While he boasts explosive power with the ball and a proven goalkicker, the signing of Corey Hawawira-Neara and rise of Raymond Faitala-Marina has ensured plenty of forward depth for coach Dean Pay’s squad.
Many would rue the missed opportunity of playing in first grade but Martin believes it will only fuel his desire to become a better player.
“I think this pre-season has been one of the best for myself but we have a strong squad in the (NRL) Top 30 and I think it’s pushed me out," Martin said.
“We have a lot of good back-rowers there and its making me train harder and its making me a better player, but I still need to work on things in my game.”
With self-improvement on his mind as he patiently waits for another chance, building consistency into his game also remains a priority.
He’s committed to focusing on the positives of the experience as he looks to cement his place in the top-grade sooner rather than later.
"I just got to bide my time, last year was my first year and I played well when I was up there but Deano (Dean Pay) has got his team at the moment and I got to fight my way into that,” he said.
“I have to come back here (in the Canterbury Cup NSW) and play good football and enjoy it.
“I can’t take it as a negative I just got to build on it.
“A lot of people get rattled by it but I’m trying to be positive and I have a lot of support, so I appreciate that.”