Rugby League World Cup: Kiwis' pack must attack Fiji through the middle to open up back options - Te Maire Martin

  • 15/11/2017

Going forward without forward go-forward is hardly easy going, Kiwis playmaker Te Maire Martin reckons.

So the Cowboys-based ace hopes his side's big boys can do a job through the middle in Saturday's Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Fiji.

New Zealand's pack laboured against their powerhouse Tongan counterparts in last week's 28-22 loss, making fewer running metres and offloads.

That reverse set them on a collision course with the similarly burly Bati, who topped Pool D undefeated, and possibly Australia in the semi-final.

Martin admitted his side's forwards would need to be better against Fiji, as they attempt to resuscitate their World Cup campaign.

Should they succeed in getting the better of the Melanesians through the middle, they'd likely have more luck quelling the threat of Jarryd Hayne.

"You can't just focus on (Hayne), you've got to focus on all the other forwards and that stuff too, with (their) momentum," Martin said.

"Coming from the halves myself, trying to go forward when your forwards aren't going forward isn't easy.

"You've got that X-factor there and we'll have to try and work on him - if he gets one-on-one, he's going to beat them most of the time."

Te Maire Martin in action against Scotland.
Te Maire Martin in action against Scotland. Photo credit: Getty

Having starred in the Kiwis' 74-6 mauling of Scotland two weeks ago, the 22-year-old Martin sat out his side's upset at the hands of Mate Ma'a.

But he'll return to the starting line-up for Saturday's Test, with Kodi Nikorima moving to the bench and Thomas Leuluai to the stands.

He looked forward to resuming his halves partnership with Shaun Johnson.

"Everything flows pretty nicely at training - we'll see when it comes to

Saturday but I thought we connected pretty well last game against Scotland, off the back of the way our forwards played," the Tokoroa-born Martin said.

NZN