Steve MARTIN

SPORTING HALL OF FAME

Rugby League


MARTIN, Steve

Steve was born in Wagga Wagga on the 7th January 1957. In 1962 he joined the Kangaroo Panthers and played his entire local club career with them, finishing in 1977.  In 1968 Steve represented NSW 6 Stone Team that Toured QLD. In 1972 he toured PNG with the 9 Stone NSW Team. Steve played first grade for Wagga Kangaroos at age 18. He spent the summer in England playing for Barrow winning the Division 2 Premiership and representing "Other Nationalities".  

In 1978 Steve joined Manly Warringah as halfback and helping the team to a Premiership that year.  He represented NSW after only two first-class games.  That year he made his international debut on the 1978 Kangaroo Tour of England.  He also played a Test match against France. In 1980 he played in the first-ever State of Origin team and also toured New Zealand with the Kangaroos. 

They called Steve Martin "whiz", because this classy utility back had an acceleration which really made him whiz through the opposition. His ability to play anywhere in the backline came in handy - and it was in the centres that he got his chance to play against France at Carcassonne. 

In 1982 Martin switched to Balmain to join his old Manly coach Frank Stanton, for three years.  He then played with Leeds (UK) in 1984.  In 1985 he started a successful career as a coach, winning the 1986 and 1987 Premierships with West Tamworth in Group 4 Country Rugby League.

After Martin's international career as a player, he was carving out a new career as a coach.  In 1991 he coached the North Sydney Bears into the semi-finals for the first time in almost a decade.    

His first taste of Sydney coaching came in 1988 when he took over North Sydney's reserve grade side (Stanton was coach of the firsts).  Martin helped lift the Bears from 11th to within one point of the semi-finals in his first year and to the premiership in 1989.  It was North's first taste of success in any grade for 30 years.  It came as no surprise that when Stanton quit at the end of 1989 Martin replaced him as first grade mentor.

With a few judicious signings, including international centre Peter Jackson, veteran Souths forward Mario Fenech and goal kicking New Zealand Rugby winger Daryl Halligan, Martin was able to mould a well-balanced team.  In 1991, the bears made the semi finals for the first time in almost a decade, and missed the Grand Final appearance by 2 points, in the Major Semi Final.

In 1993 Martin coached Featherstone Rovers in the UK to win the 2nd Division Premiership at Old Trafford and promotion into 1st Division.  Martin continued to coach Featherstone Rovers in 1st Division in 1994 and 1995 just missing the finals.

1n 1996 Martin returned to Brisbane to become CEO of Brothers Rugby Union Club.  He then returned to Rugby League in 1997 to coach South Sydney in the Australian Rugby League.

Those who influenced Steve's career included South Sydney great Greg Hawick, his father-in-law and former Great Britain player Phil Jackson, Frank Stanton and his father Rod who gave Steve his work ethic and attitude. Steve's favourite quote came from Greg Hawick who used to say if you make a mistake do it flat out, don't half do it. 

These days Steve is a player manager, involved with the N.S.W. "Origin Legends" and coaching the U18 Viking Rep Team on the Gold Coast.

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