Liam Martin injury comes to light as NSW hit by more bad news after State of Origin loss

The Blues forward appears to be racing the clock to be fit for Game II in Melbourne.

NSW might be forced to try and level the State of Origin series without Liam Martin after the back-rower suffered a foot injury in Game I on Wednesday night. The Blues went 1-0 down in the series as the Maroons racked up a 38-10 victory after Joseph Suaalii was sent off in just the seventh minute.

Martin's humongous hit on J'Maine Hopgood was a rare highlight for the Blues, although he did miss a regulation tackle to allow Ben Hunt to score just moments later. Martin has been a mainstay in the NSW team over the last few years, but he's now racing the clock to be fit for Game II.

Liam Martin in State of Origin I.
Liam Martin is in some doubt for State of Origin II with a foot injury. Image: Getty

Martin injured ligaments in his foot on Wednesday night and could be forced to miss the next two matches for the Panthers. He won't play on Sunday against the Sea Eagles and would be in doubt to take on the Knights in Round 15.

With the Panthers on the bye in Round 16, the game against the Knights would be Martin's only match before Michael Maguire picks his team for Origin II in Melbourne. Martin reportedly required a pain-killing injection to return to the field in Origin I and has been wearing a moon boot in the days since.

It would be a big blow for the Blues if Martin was ruled out, with plenty of other question marks emerging after the loss in Game I. James Tedesco and Nicho Hynes failed to fire, with Dylan Edwards and Mitchell Moses seemingly in the box-seat to come into the side at their expense.

Liam Martin, Jarome Luai and Brian To'o.
Liam Martin, Jarome Luai and Brian To'o before State of Origin I. Image: Getty

And some have also called for Jake Trbojevic to be axed despite the fact he was captain in Game I. Trbojevic only played 25 minutes on Wednesday night due to the fact the Blues were reduced to 12 men and couldn't afford to have two props on the ground at the same time.

The veteran forward was handed the captaincy because Tedesco was initially dumped for Edwards, although Tedesco later came back in when Edwards suffered a quad injury in camp. Isaah Yeo was picked on the bench and assumed the captaincy when Trbojevic went off.

Despite the fact he's captain, many have called for Maguire to axe Trbojevic in favour of someone more mobile and damaging like Mitch Barnett - who was in the 20-man squad for Game I. “They made a rod for their back by giving Jake the captaincy," commentator Andrew Voss said on SEN radio on Thursday. "Jake doesn’t need the ‘c’ next to his name to be the leader and the captain. But now that you’ve made him the captain, this was always going to happen, I think even (if the game) was 13 versus 13, he’s not playing a lot of minutes, so that was always going to be a discussion topic.

“It’s not a win or lose on the game, it’s not a game changer but it was always going to be a discussion topic and now it becomes a big topic because they lose and it’s so little minutes, it’s a long time off the field, the captain just sitting their watching. There’s no way he can turn the course of the game.”


NSW have the weight of history against them as they attempt to win the series from 1-0 down. The Blues have only come back from 1-0 down to win a series three times in Origin history.

And only in 1994 have they managed to do so with the final two fixtures on the road (Melbourne and Brisbane this year). Even if they do win Game II to level the series in Melbourne, the Blues have lost the past six deciders at Suncorp Stadium.

with AAP