Three years ago, the prospect of running out in an NRL preliminary final was incomprehensible for Te Maire Martin.

But this weekend, he'll do exactly that and it will be against the team that gave him another crack. 

The Kiwis half completed a remarkable comeback to rugby league last year, when he ran out for the Broncos, two years after retiring with a brain bleed. 

Now with the Warriors, Martin feels he's actually better off for that time away from the game. 

After all, he believes that everything happens for a reason. 

"I got to come home and sharpen up on some skills that I wasn't too good on. Surfing, pig hunting, fishing," Martin told Newshub. 

Three years after switching the footy field for the bush and boat, the half's about to have a full circle moment. 

When he takes the field at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, he'll do so against the team that gave him a surreal second chance; six-time premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. 

"You look back in history, they're a super special team. To wear that Broncs jersey, I really enjoyed it and it was really humbling being able to play in that Broncos side."

But putting on that marvelled maroon and gold kit seemed unfathomable in 2020 when, as a rising start with the North Queensland Cowboys, he was forced to retire with a brain bleed. 

And while the 27-year-old's now back to full health, it hasn't been all smooth sailing since arriving at Mount Smart this year. 

Just six games into the season, he broke his leg against the Newcastle Knights. 

While the team was stringing together impressive performances, Martin was racking up rehab time, only returning for the last regular season game against the Dolphins. 

Once again though, he believes it happened for a reason.  

"I got to take a step back and watch what was going on. I'm back here now and it's exciting." 

And while Martin's had to take a step back to Shaun Johnson during an arguably career-best season, his impact's being noticed around the club. 

"I think it's awesome." coach Andrew Webster said, "He's worked really hard to get back to where he is." 

Utility Dylan Walker agrees. 

"The injury probably set him back a little bit, but his effort with kick chase, Shaun's usually the one kicking the ball and then Te Maire's the first one down there locking it up for us. 

"I think he's getting better every week. His touches are going to get the way he wants it, and that's going to come with combinations, and hust a bit of time on the field. He's owning that role and doing the little things right." 

Martin feels retiring taught him to appreciate balance in life, meaning a return to his roots is now a habitual fix. 

He tries to return home to Raglan whenever he can, and has even got others involved. 

"I've been taking Jazz [Tevaga] out a bit. That's why he's been playing some good footy. If you're happy off the field, you'll be playing good footy on the field." 

And while he's enjoying combining with Johnson on the field, their relationship hasn't extended to donning camouflage together

"He's pretty cheeky, I'm pretty cheeky so it's all the same." Martin says of their relationship. "He doesn't like hunting so we don't get on too well." 

It's not just the result on the line in Brisbane this week though, with former Broncos teammate Billy Walters' wedding next month.  

"It would just be nice to go to the wedding with a smile on your face. The upperhand." 

It's time for Martin and the Warriors to go Bronco hunting. 

Join Newshub at 9:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors v Broncos NRL playoff clash

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