Penrith Panthers star Liam Martin says he is carrying the memory of his late brother Jarred with him as he prepares to make his State of Origin debut next week.
The 24-year-old has played a pivotal role in Penrith’s 12-0 start to the season and was rewarded with the No.17 jersey in Brad Fittler’s NSW squad for the June 9 series opener.
Martin’s brother tragically committed suicide seven years ago, and the NSW Blues debutant admitted that he wanted to make his brother proud in the Origin opener next week.
“I actually shed a tear driving in thinking back on it,” he told Nine News Sydney. “Hopefully I do my brother proud.”
“I actually enjoy talking about him, it sort of keeps the memory alive. He’d be ecstatic. He was the first person who saw anything in me, he had belief in me before anyone else did.
“It’s probably my most vivid memory, just hearing the news, I can pretty much recount it detail for detail.”
Martin’s mother Maxine also vividly remembers Liam’s reaction to the horrific news of his brother’s death.
“Poor Liam had to be so adult in that moment in terms of the things he had to do,” she said.
“We couldn’t find him at one stage and I said, ‘I know where he is’, and he was, we found him at the football ground just sobbing.”
Martin admitted that he and his family did not see his brother’s suicide coming, and said he hopes his brother’s story helps others speak out if they are struggling.
“Looking back now, we talk about it between our brothers and sisters, if we had known what we know now we probably would have recognised some signs,” he said.
“We want to raise the awareness and remove the stigma of mental health. It’s not weak to talk about your emotions.”
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