'He's a natural footballer' - Johnathan Thurston backing Kiwis star Te Maire Martin to fill his boots

NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has thrown his support firmly behind Kiwis half Te Maire Martin to fill his boots in the North Queensland Cowboys' side, having retired at the end of last season.

Thurston, 35, brought his glittering career to an end earlier this year, with attention quickly turning to who will take his place in the Cowboys' halves alongside Michael Morgan.

However, with the Cowboys having completed the signing of Ben Barba - most likely to occupy the fullback position - Thurston is confident that Kiwis utility Martin can fill his boots.

"With Ben Barba at the club, Te Maire Martin will be first choice to partner Morgo in the halves," Thurston told The Courier Mail.

"[Martin] is a real footballer.

"He knows how to find the try line and has great vision. He knows how to read a play.

"He’s a natural footballer. That will help take the pressure off Morgo. He’s not afraid to call the shots."

Martin will be competing with youngster Jake Clifford to take the reigns as the Cowboys' halfback in 2019.

Te Maire Martin. Source: AAP

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