Rising Sun pick for Rising Star
Exciting Gold Coast recruit Jack Martin will make his debut against the Tigers tomorrow afternoon. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Jack Martin may weigh less than 80kg, but he won't let that stop him from taking on Richmond's biggest bodies when he runs out for Gold Coast tomorrow, according to 2013 Rising Star winner Jaeger O'Meara.

Martin, already a firm favourite to win this season's Rising Star award, will make his debut for the Suns at Metricon Stadium after arriving at the club through the mini draft more than a year ago.

South Australian draftee Sean Lemmens and Queenslander Clay Cameron have also been named for their first games.

O'Meara was one of the biggest stories in the AFL last year, helping propel the Suns up the ladder in a debut season which far surpassed the inaugural efforts of stars such as Chris Judd, Sam Mitchell and Joel Selwood.

He said the club wasn't putting too much pressure on Martin to perform from day one, but it is confident he would more than hold his own.

"We are quite different players. I've got a bit more weight than Jack does, but he still does all the hard stuff," O'Meara said.

"He loves tackling. He's a really good user on the outside but he thrives on the contest and that's something we really value at our club.

"It's pretty funny because he only weighs about 76kg but he plays like he weighs about 85."

The parallels between O'Meara's and Martin's junior careers run deep. So deep, in fact, that the pair lined up against each other in a senior grand final in Geraldton three years ago, when O'Meara was 16 and Martin 15.

O'Meara won the best-on-ground medal that day as Railways claimed the flag, but he said Martin was already showing signs of his immense talent.

"We ended up on each other a little bit in that grand final but I reckon he towelled me up a bit and jumped on my head a couple of times," O'Meara said. "He was already taking hangers on blokes back then, so hopefully he can do it again this year."

O'Meara and Martin have committed to the Suns on long-term deals, but out-of-contract WA trio David Swallow, Harley Bennell and Brandon Matera have yet to announce their intentions beyond this season.

All three, Bennell in particular, have been rumoured to struggle with homesickness at times in their first three years on the Gold Coast, but O'Meara believed they would stay with the Suns.

"I'm sure they will be happy to stay around here," he said.

"We're all on the same page and there's a lot of us living away from our family and friends, so that's definitely helped us gel as a group.

"We're a bit unique compared with other clubs, having so many young guys, and that's something I really enjoy."

Danny Stanley re-signed with the club this week, extending his stay until the end of the 2016 season.

The West Australian

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