WHAT a difference a year can make for a Northwich Rugby Club player.

Last season, Ethyn Martin was showing his wares to the faithful at Moss Farm.

At the weekend, he was playing in a 20,000-plus capacity stadium live on Fox Sports TV in Australia while pushing his claims for a place in the first-team squad of professional rugby league club, Parramatta Eels.

Martyn, 21, made his bow for Blacks in a pre-season friendly in August, 2022, and went on to be voted the best full-back in North West regional rugby last season.

One of his highlights while in town was cutting in from the left wing 60 metres out and jinking his way through the entire Kendal defence to score between the Moss Farm posts as Blacks secured back-to-back victories for the first time in almost three years.

But when the New Zealander headed back Down Under he hooked up with the Sydney club’s lower grade side and got himself regular matches on the wing or full-back in the Jersey Flegg Cup.

In his 11 matches he caught the eye, scoring 13 tries, and he was handed a bench spot for the Eels in the 2024 National Rugby League season trial match against Canberra Raiders at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday, a game played before the Charity Shield clash between two other giants of the sport, South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons.

Martin’s early rugby background was in the 13-a-side code.

He only switched to rugby union aged 15 when living on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Queensland-based rugby league club Dolphins secured his services on a train and trial basis before he elected to join Northwich.