Martin vows to make an impact
Young Penrith five-eighth Te Maire Martin says he needs to offer better assistance to his halves partner Nathan Cleary, who he says is doing a good job, by being more assertive.
It was a frustrating outing for Penrith at home to the Sharks with the premiers' in-your-face defence shutting down the time and options for the two highly-rated young halves on the way to a convincing 28-2 win.
Both Penrith halves admitted on Monday they were guilty of drifting away from their game plan when 'Plan A' didn’t work in a first half that saw them offered plenty of attacking opportunities, resorting to too much lateral ball movement and not showing enough patience and persistence.
"I think he's doing real well on his side, I just think I've been sitting back a bit too much and watching him do a bit too much and not really taking control," Martin said.
"We can probably finish our sets a bit better and stay in the grind a bit longer and not panic."
Asked if he needed to demand the ball more often, Martin added: "I try to watch the defence and see what the defence is doing first but yesterday I couldn't see any gaps and my first touch of the ball I got tackled and didn't take the line on.
"That's the think I like to base my game on is really get confident then take the line on first but defensively they defended really well and it was hard to find any gaps."
One example of panicked attacking play was a rushed pass in the second half, with his side chasing points but on the attack, which was intercepted by flying Cronulla centre Ricky Leutele with a Sharks try following shortly after.
"I threw that intercept there, they were up and in and I was a bit frustrated and ended up panicking and throwing a pass I don't usually pass. I just need to keep it cool and not panic," Martin said.
"We tried to shift a bit too early instead of going through the middle and a few errors we came up with... it wasn't good enough and the boys are down on it."
This year is already proving a steep learning curve for the former Junior Kiwi who made his full Test debut in last year's Four Nations with just six NRL games under his belt. He is still trying to form a combination with Cleary, who himself is finding teams have done a lot more research on him after his breakout 2016.
"Me and Te Maire are still trying to work each other out and our games and what kind of works best for our combination," Cleary said.
"We've developed a bit since Round 1, passing the ball to each other a bit more but it's about adding in those different variations to keep teams guessing."
Cleary refused to let Martin take the blame for the team's stuttering attack against the Sharks though.
"We've got to work together a bit more, I need to give him the ball in better position so he can work his magic but it's kind of a collaborative thing," Cleary added.
Senior prop James Tamou believed the issues started in the middle of the park, with himself and fellow forwards needing to give the halves a bit more space – especially against the Sharks' in-your-face defensive rushes.
"Teams are shutting them down, getting off the line. We saw the Sharks read it really well," Tamou said.
"We need to change it up. We need to do our job and give them more options, either stand either side of them – you see someone shooting out you give an inside ball, something like that so that's up to us to help them out.
"They're good enough I think to really sort it out. It's one or two little things but once we sort it out and everyone's on the same page we'll get there."
This article first appeared on NRL.com.