Towns Football Club product Jack Martin was shocked to hear the news he was selected by the Gold Coast Suns, according to his father Chris.
Jack, who played in Towns’ premiershipwinning side last month, was selected by the Suns on Monday under the same deal Dongara product Jaeger O’Meara was selected by the club last year.
Jack will spend a year training as an AFLlisted player but will be ineligible to play during the 2013 season due to his age.
Chris said his son was expecting to be on the Western Bulldogs’ list for next season.
“We were getting ready to go to the Bulldogs before the Gold Coast deal came through,” he said.
“Jack is happy with the Gold Coast though and gets to rub shoulders with Gary Ablett, which is not too bad.”
Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast were in a mini draft tug-of-war over the 16-year-old’s recruitment.
The Bulldogs were reportedly close to finalising a deal that would secure the first pick in the mini draft, but were beaten to the mark by Gold Coast who secured the first pick and consequently the midfielder’s signature.
Suns football operations manager Marcus Ashcroft told The West Australian the club’s results with O’Meara had given them the confidence to select Jack.
“He is a very good user of the ball, a great decision-maker and also really hard at it,” he said.
“He’s a bit like Jaeger O’Meara from last year — he’ll play a year in our reserves team and then be available, hopefully, for round one 2014.”
Jack burst onto the scene at the National U18s Championship where he gained All- Australian honours, was WA’s player of the tournament and runner-up in the Larke Medal.
Chris said the last four months had been very busy.
“This has been four years in the making,” he said.
“Jack moved from Broome to Geraldton four years ago to further his football. He is very happy to go to the Gold Coast and play AFL football.”
Chris said the whole Martin family would relocate to the east coast to provide Jack with a family environment.
Jack was in Echo Beach and was unable to be contacted by the Guardian yesterday.
Chris said Jack would return home on Friday and is set for a busy month.
“He will come home for the Towns best and fairest count and Bluey (Guy McKenna) will be in Geraldton on Monday to have a chat with Jack,” he said.
“Gold Coast leave for Arizona soon but I do not know if they want Jack to go or want him to do some weights training.”