How Liam Martin’s late older brother helped make NSW Origin star the most hated man in Queensland
Liam Martin tragically lost his older brother eight years ago – here’s how he played a pivotal role in making the NSW Blues enforcer the most hated man in Queensland
- Martin’s brother Jarred was a talented player for Canberra’s under-20 side
- He taught Liam some hard lessons about footy when he was only 12 years old
- Panthers star is known for his uncompromising playstyle and toughness
NSW Blues star Liam Martin has been branded a ‘massive grub’ after images of his uninhibited play in game one of this year’s Origin series infuriated Queensland fans – and now he’s revealed just how hard he got by his brother drilled Jarred.
Martin’s family fell apart when his older brother committed suicide in 2014, aged just 22. But before that, the talented former Under-20 Canberra Raiders player taught the Panthers some hard lessons about what it takes to make it in top-flight football.
Despite being six years older and weighing 110kg when he was 18, Jarred didn’t hold back when the couple locked the horns at the back of the family home.
“We would play backyard footy and he would beat up the 12-year-old me,” Martin told the… Sydney Morning Herald†
Jarred (left) was a tough and talented player for the Under-20s Canberra Raiders as he guided Liam (right) through the school of hardship in their backyard
Jarred weighed about 110kg and was six years older than Liam, 12, when he beat him in footy games and showed him footy wrestling techniques
“I loved it… when he got home from Canberra, he would show me all the new wrestling techniques he learned there.
“I’d hit hard, and then he’d drag me outside to do his fitness exercises too. That’s probably where it comes from. I enjoy the physicality and aggression of footy.
“I always take it to my game every day. If they call me a caterpillar, I don’t mind at all.’
The rear rower was hit with that tag after a Brisbane newspaper ran an article pointing out his alleged foul play in the Blues’ loss to Queensland in game one, making him public enemy number one in the Sunshine State.
Martin was labeled a ‘caterpillar’ after the Queenslanders blew up about his ‘take-no-prisoners’ style of play in game one – but it’s a label he wears with pride
His mother Maxine (pictured together) wasn’t happy about it though – even appearing on a radio show in Queensland to stand up for her son
His mother Maxine did not like it, who called 2Day FM’s radio show Hughesy, Ed and Erin to speak up for her son.
“I said, if you watch a competition, there are more facial massages than a beauty salon. They kill each other all the time,” she told the show — just for host Ed Kavalee to joke, “I’m happy to be doing this as a Queensland supporter. Maxine, your son is a jerk. Your son is a huge bastard.”
It’s an insult that the 25-year-old wears with pride. He has always played the way Jarred taught him and his controlled aggression was a key feature of Penrith’s rise from easybeats to prime ministers.
Panthers scout Jim Jones recalled an assistant coach telling him he had to watch Martin play because he was “girding guys with 30 pounds on their belts.”
Martin – seen here fourth from the left with family and friends after an Origin game in 2021 – has said he feels Jarred is looking over him when he takes the field
That was in 2015, when Maxine drove him every week on the five-hour journey from West Wyalong to Penrith playing SG Ball.
She has said the long journeys helped Martin cope with the tragedy as they had “healing conversations” in the car.
A quick look at his Instagram will prove that Jarred stays on his mind whenever he plays.
Martin posted a photo of his brother’s name written on his taped wrist before a match, accompanied by the caption: ‘I never got to play that game together, but every time I step on that field I feel you looks over me. I hope I do your proud brother.’
Come kick off on Sunday evening, he almost certainly will.
For confidential support in Australia, please contact: Lifeline: 13 11 14, Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467.