After 1,092 long days, Te Maire Martin’s return to NRL was a triumphant success.

Previously convinced his career was over due to a brain bleed, Martin laid seven tackles and diffused a kick to help the Broncos to a 20-point come from behind win over the Bulldogs.

Speaking to his former Cowboys captain Jonathan Thurston after the match, Martin said his return to the top-level didn’t come back to him like second nature.

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“It was tough,” he said on Nine’s coverage.

“I knew I just had to try and run the footy, push up wherever I could and everything else would happen from there.

“My timings a bit (off) but you kind of expect that when you’ve been out of the game for a couple of years.

“But 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.”

Reflecting on his incredible journey to recovery, the 26-year-old said he often has to pinch himself.

“I appreciate everything a lot more,” he said.

“I suppose you don’t appreciate as much until it’s gone and it was really gone for me and got the small opportunity to come up here with the Broncs and I’ve just taken it with two hands and am really soaking it in because if anyone knows how fast it can be gone it’s me.”

Stepping out in the No.1 jersey, Martin admitted he was glad that opposing halfback Matt Burton didn’t put up any ‘spiral balls’.

However, he was composed knowing he had done a lot of work with his back-three teammates to be able to catch any long bombs that came his way.

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Martin shared a heartfelt embrace with his former skipper, who praised him for his courage throughout the tough journey.

“Mate, congratulations on it all, I’m very proud of you,” Thurston said.

“I know what you’ve been through to get back here – congratulations and I wish you all the best in the future brother.”

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