Jack Martin’s finally out of the box at Gold Coast
GOLD COAST is set to unveil its second "once-in-a-generation" player in 12 months, skilful West Australian Jack Martin.
He is the overwhelming favourite to follow in Jaeger O'Meara's footsteps and win this year's Rising Star award, and the hype surrounding Martin has more than matched that of his Suns teammate.
Different types of midfielders, the spindly 76kg Martin will weigh almost 10kg less than O'Meara when he makes his AFL debut.
It hasn't concerned Suns director of coaching Malcolm Blight, who said, "Size doesn't matter ... I've already seen him take on six-foot-nine, six-foot-10 blokes and tackle them. This is going to be one hell of a player."
Like O'Meara a year earlier, Martin was one of two 17-year-olds taken by AFL clubs at the end of 2012 but forced to bide their time playing at the lower level in 2013 due to their age, the other being Melbourne's Jesse Hogan.
The other was big key forward Jesse Hogan, who Melbourne has been forced to hold off unleashing in a potentially potent Demons attack, alongside Mitch Clark, Chris Dawes and Jeremy Howe, due to stress fractures in his back.
While Hogan finished fourth on the VFL goalkicking table after playing with Casey Scorpions, Martin gave everyone a glimpse of what is to come on the big stage while playing with the Suns reserves in the NEAFL.
Despite playing only 12 of a possible 18 games, he won the club best and fairest, and finished fourth in the league award, averaging 20 disposals and 110 Champion Data points.
Suns reserves coach Shaun Hart summed Martin up by saying: "He's got the gut run and courage of Nigel Lappin, the fearlessness of Michael Voss and the amazing elite skill and ability to mark the ball of a Daryl White."