Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has described Towns recruit Jack Martin as the “total football package”.
Speaking in Geraldton yesterday, McKenna said Martin has been on the club’s radar since mid-season and were confident he could follow in the footsteps of Dongara recruit Jaeger O’Meara and WA product David Swallow.
“Jack is the all-round package – a great kid off the field, well spoken, considered and not taken in by his own ego,” McKenna said.
“He’s not excitable off the field but he is very exciting on the field – the way he plays is very measured – he’s got endurance and is fearless.
“A lot of kids you have to push and encourage to stick their head over the pill, but Jack has none of that and it will hold him in good stead coming into the AFL system.”
Martin is set for a busy fortnight as he makes the transition from the Batavia Coast to the Gold Coast.
He’ll arrive in Brisbane on October 27 and a day later travel with his Suns’ teammates to Arizona for high-altitude training.
But McKenna is confident of him making the transition and playing around 15 games in their reserve grade system against “70 per cent” of AFL listed line-ups from Brisbane, Greater Western Sydney and the Northern Territory Thunder.
“Once we’d seen enough of Jack we were committed to getting him to the Gold Coast – but it was then a part of the bidding process and we were largely at GWS’ beck and call and what deal they’d be satisfied with,” he said.
“Ultimately they couldn’t shy away from pick two in this year’s draft and we’re all happy.
“Jack won’t play the whole season that’s not what is important – what is important is to make sure his body is ready. We don’t want to run him into the ground and we don’t want him split in half and pulled from pillar to post.”
McKenna said Martin faced a significant challenge, however, is confident the experience of playing against bigger bodies in the GNFL had advanced his preparation.
“Going from possibly two days a week to five days a week training is significant, let’s not forget that he’ll be challenged physically at training against men day in, day out,” he said.
“At an 18s, 17s or 16s competition you are training and playing against guys that are the same size and shape — so it can be quite confronting.
“But having done it well and successfully with David Swallow the proof is in the pudding and Jaeger is certainly on track and looking real good to put his hand up for round one.
“There is no doubt Jack is confident in his own ability and confident in his body, but he’ll need to put on a few kilos.
“He’s quite confident knowing he’s going to wear a few (knocks), but in time with a bit of extra muscle he’ll be able to dish out a few.”
For his part Martin is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m obviously pretty excited and it’s a great opportunity – especially to get that extra year in the system – I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said.
“I’d talked with the (Western) Bulldogs a fair bit and was expecting to end up with them. But I got the call from Gold Coast on Monday morning and am now concentrating on playing good football there.
"Having played against much bigger and older bodies will benefit me going into the system – I’m confident of being well-prepared.
“I love to have a crack – it doesn’t really matter how big they are – I just want to get my hands on the footy and get it out to my teammates.
“This year I’ve mixed my game up – a bit of inside and out which will help me better adapt to the new system.”