Halifax Panthers are pleased to announce that full back Joe Martin has signed a deal until the end of the 2022 season following a successful trial with the club.

The 26 year old was brought in by Panthers head coach Simon Grix to bolster his options at the back following an injury to first choice full back James Woodburn-Hall on the eve of the Betfred Championship season, and has seemingly done enough to convince his coach that he should make his stay a permanent one.

And the Halifax-born man was delighted to be back where it all started.

“I was speaking with the club towards the end of last year but nothing came of it and when Woody got injured, I got a text off Finny and it just went from there really,” said Martin. “It’s good to be back. I’ve got a lot of friends here so it’s been an easy transition for me. I’ve played a few games now and
feel like I’m settling in well. Still learning new systems and combinations but feel like I’ve improved each week. I just try 100% and want to make sure I don’t let the boys down and will improve with each week I get so hoping for a strong year. Personally I want to be in the starting squad each week wherever that may be.”

Panthers head coach Simon Grix continued:

“Joe has been into me for a while for an opportunity to come back to the club and the timing was right with Woodburn-Hall’s injury. Joe has proven to be a solid full back in recent years with Dewsbury so we were happy to give him a go and he has gone well for us. He’s fit in well, got in and trained hard. He will never be found wanting on effort that’s for sure, which is a great attribute to have for all players. He returns the ball well and is deceptively strong. He is still learning the role of full back so there’s areas he will improve in given time.”

“Joe is confident, an extrovert I suppose. It helps that he’s a local lad so knew near enough all the lads anyhow. He’s good for a laugh, both at others and himself so he offers some entertainment value there.”

And when questioned on Martin’s role once Jamaican international Woodburn-Hall returns to full fitness, the Panthers boss was quite diplomatic in his response.

“Well it’s pretty simple really, he has to do enough to make it difficult for me to put Woody straight back in there, and that goes for Louis as well. It’s been clear from the start, he came to fill a gap and impressed us. There’s only one full back on match day so whoever wears the Jersey will earn it.”

Martin has started 3 games for the Panthers in the League so far in 2022, making his second debut for the club in the opening day defeat to Batley Bulldogs in January, having previously spent four seasons with Fax between 2014-18.

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