If Te Maire Martin had it his way, he'd still be playing for Penrith and by extension would this week be enjoying the off season.

But sometimes man plans and God laughs and instead the 21-year-old playmaker is preparing to help North Queensland book a shock NRL grand final berth.

Martin is adamant he bears no ill will towards the Panthers - he still has plenty of mates at the club and was rooting for them up until they were knocked out by Brisbane last week.

So the New Zealand native is making the most of his opportunity and quickly adapting to life in far north Queensland.

"It's just how the cookie crumbles," Martin told AAP.

"I would have liked to have stayed at Penrith, it's just how it was. But everything happens for a reason.

Listen: Te Maire Martin on the D'Arcy and Goran show


"I'm playing finals footy now and loving it. The boys are easy to get along with, there's so much experience in there."

After being told by Panthers coach Anthony Griffin he was not a part of the club's future plans, he plotted a new chapter in his career at the Cowboys.

He made the 2000km journey from Penrith to Townsville with a view to learning off the great Johnathan Thurston.

However a week after he arrived, Thurston suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, catapulting Martin into the Cowboys' starting halves alongside the in-form Michael Morgan.

"That wasn't the best but it's opened up the door for me to play alongside these boys," he said of Thurston's injury.

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"Morgan has sort of taken on his role, he's first-receiver and on the ball all the time.

"I'm just trying to play support and do what I can off him. I wouldn't say I'm filling JT's shoes, I'm just making my own role."

Martin says Thurston's guidance has made a large difference in his game.

"I remember quite clearly, against the Warriors at halftime he came in and told me what I can do and what I could have done," he said.

"That was the first time I talked footy with him. The second half I made a few breaks.

"He sees stuff that not many other people do see."

- AAP