Martin pleased with Crusaders comeback

Tony Martin admitted he was delighted to put his injury nightmare behind him as Crusaders got back to winning ways with their 44-20 demolition of Bradford Bulls.

Martin, 32, made a sensational return to Crusaders starting line up after missing the last two months with a hamstring injury. With just three minutes on the clock, a superb quick pass from Martin sent Gareth Thomas over for his third try in a Crusaders jersey.

And the former Melbourne Storm star capped of a superb individual display by scoring a try of his own during the second half, following a great flowing team move. Martin also created a bit of history for the Welsh side on Sunday, with his try taking Crusaders to the 4,000 point mark since they were founded in 2005.

The centre has endured a stop-start Super League campaign since joining Crusaders from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the off-season, with his hamstring injury restricting him to just a handful of appearances.

And he couldn’t hide his delight at making a try-scoring comeback in the victory over the Bulls.

“It was a great result and it was nice to get some confidence back,” Martin said. “We started strongly against Bradford, which was a nice change and I thought we worked really hard in defence as well. We have been knocked about quite a bit over the last month or so and it is a nice feeling to get back on the horse and hopefully we can build on that for the next couple of weeks.

“For me it was just nice to be out there. It was a great result after what has been a very frustrating couple of months with me being out injured. It was just nice to get out there on the field and to contribute with the boys. What made it even better was the result; it was a fantastic team performance against Bradford.

“It was nice to get a try. At least I won’t have to do the nudie run at the end of the year! It was a good try but it was a great team effort from the boys that led to it. It was a fantastic team effort against Bradford, everyone worked tremendously hard for each other and it paid off for us today. It’s just what the doctor ordered after recent results and it has given the team a huge boost.”

Crusaders played some superb rugby at times, but it was their defensive display that earned many of the plaudits from Head coach Brian Noble after the game. At 26-16, the Welsh side were forced to defend as Bradford had consecutive sets of six in the Crusaders half. Despite the increasing pressure, Crusaders managed to snuff out the Bradford attack and score at the other end of the field.

Crusaders defence has been much maligned in recent weeks and Martin felt his side felt the benefits of a tough week of training during the match against Bradford.

Tony added: “It is something we have been working very hard on. Obviously in recent weeks we have conceded a fair few points and the boys had to work very hard in that department against Bradford, as we have done in training in recent weeks. Bradford had a lot of ball in the second half, I think it was something like five consecutive sets close to our line and we managed to shut them out, which was hugely satisfying.

“We have Leeds Rhinos next and it is going to be a tough game. Leeds have hit really good form in recent weeks but the good thing is there isn’t going to be lot of pressure on us. No one expects us to go there and get a result; the pressure will all be on Leeds. But if we put in a defensive display like we did against Bradford then I believe we can give Leeds a good game.”

The win over Bradford means Crusaders are back up to tenth in the Engage Super League table with twelve points. The victory puts the Wrexham side very much back in the hunt for their first ever play-off birth and they are four points behind eight-placed Hull KR.

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