NRL 2022: Kiwi Te Maire Martin celebrates NRL return with brilliant Broncos comeback against Bulldogs

On a night when Kiwi fullback Te Maire Martin made an improbable return to the NRL field, his team delivered a rousing comeback of their own.

Martin's Brisbane Broncos have fought back from an eight-point second-half deficit to run away with an emphatic 34-14 win over Canterbury Bulldogs.

Trailing 14-6 in the 44th minute, the Broncos poured on 34 unanswered points to ensure a fairytale return for Martin, 26, who played his first game three years after a brain bleed forced him to the sidelines.

Doctors refused to grant him medical clearance, forcing the four-test NZ Kiwi to retire at just 24 years old.

But after working his way back through Waikato club rugby league - where he returned to construction work - and proving his fitness in the Queensland Cup, Martin was able to work his way back to the game's highest level, capped by an impressive display at fullback at Suncorp Stadium.

Martin ran for 147m - including six breaks - and made all eight of his tackles, while looking safe under the high ball.

Te Maire Martin in action on Friday.
Te Maire Martin in action on Friday. Photo credit: G

"I knew I just had to try and run the footy, push up wherever I could and everything else would happen from there," Martin told Channel Nine analyst and former North Queensland Cowboys teammate Johnathan Thurston.

"My timings a bit [off], but you kind of expect that when you've been out of the game for a couple of years.

"I'm pretty happy with the second-half performance that the boys put in and I'm glad to have been a part of it."

Sporting a huge smile after the game, the Tahāroa product soaked up the moment, celebrating with family and fans in the stands.

"When you get told to retire at such a young age - before you're ready - for a brain injury, that's heartbreaking," said former Kiwis captain Benji Marshall on the Fox Sports post-game show. "Imagine that feeling as a kid.

"To be able to get his first game back in the NRL, to see him out there [celebrating] like that… go and enjoy it, Te Maire, you've earned it."

Star off-season signing Adam Reynolds was the driving force behind the Broncos' stirring second-half showcase, recording two of his three try assists and scoring one of his own, as his side ran in five unanswered tries.

Two opening tries to Origin wing Josh Addo-Carr suggested a Bulldogs upset could be on the cards, before Reynolds sparked the Broncos to life in the second stanza.

Next week, Brisbane will host Cronulla Sharks in round eight, while the Bulldogs will be up against Sydney Roosters.

Join us at 9pm Monday for live updates of the Warriors v Storm NRL ANZAC Day clash or watch live on Three