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Liam Martin didn't need much motivation to get back on the field on Friday night but with State of Origin selection a fortnight away, the added incentive to get back into the NSW side is one sticking point.

Martin declared he was "more than ready" if Blues coach Brad Fittler needed him for the series opener on May 31 after a frustrating start to his own season which has been restricted to four games in 11 weeks. 

The 26-year-old wasted no time getting under the skin of his opponents in his return from a hamstring injury for the Panthers on Friday night with Martin and Roosters prop Matt Lodge clashing as soon as he got onto the field.

It's the sort of aggression required for Origin with Fittler weighing up his back-row options with Martin, Cameron Murray, Tyson Frizell, Haumole Olakau'atu among those in contention.

"I’d absolutely love to be there and if he (Fittler) needs me I’m more than ready," Martin, a Blues incumbent from last year's decider, said.

"I’ll try and earn my spot with one more game and put my best foot forward. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. That feeling [of losing the series last year] was devastating and I’d love to make amends for it but we’ll have to wait and see."

Panthers v Roosters - Round 11, 2023

The unfortunate injury to Spencer Leniu, who ruptured his testicle at training last week, enabled Martin to return in the middle and be given a job by Ivan Cleary to make an impact off the bench.

For Martin, who has been plagued by hamstring issues this year, it's been a frustrating month after he reaggravated a previous issue against Newcastle in Round 7.

"It was only a Grade 1 [hamstring strain] so I was assuming it was only supposed to be a week out and back in and then went through rehab and reaggravated it a bit and went back to square one," Martin said.

"It was like a scar tissue [problem]. It hadn’t healed properly. I could function but I was pretty much on one leg. I didn’t have the power or couldn’t stride out.

"It’s been frustrating but full credit to the physios. They’ve worked around the clock with me and worked everything out and made it simplified it and took a real conservative [approach]. It was more annoying than anything."

Martin could be further eased back into Penrith's 17 on Thursday night with Leniu unlikely to be available or Cleary could opt to start him on an edge. 

The form of Scott Sorensen on the left channel last week is unlikely to see him make way while Zac Hosking has built a strong foundation alongside Nathan Cleary in Martin's absence.

Hosking passed a head injury assessment against the Roosters but did not return after 31 minutes with the Panthers piling on the points helping his cause.

"We as a team had a bit of a shaky start but we’re all heading in the right direction and it’s starting to hum along nicely," Martin said.

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