The West

Top draft prospect returns to Geraldton
jack Martin. Pic: Simon Santi/WA News

One of Australia's most exciting young footballers will have limited exposure at the elite junior level this year after moving back to Geraldton because he couldn't find accommodation in Perth.

Claremont colts midfielder Jack Martin is 17 and too young to be drafted this year, but he is attracting attention under the same scheme that saw WA's Jaeger O'Meara recruited by Gold Coast last season. Greater Western Sydney can trade two of the special draft selections, which can then be used to select players who were born between January 1 and April 30, 1995. Those players would then train with their AFL club but not be allowed to play until 2014.

Martin is part of the AFL Academy and will play for the WA under-18s this year, but hasn't played a WAFL colts game since Easter and his availability for more matches is uncertain.

The youngster's manager, Jason Dover, said Martin was desperate to play AFL but had little option other than to move home and play for Towns in the Great Northern Football League.

"We're working with the WA Football Commission and Claremont at the moment to organise a plan for him for the rest of the year," Dover said

"Towns have a bye this weekend so he'll come down and play, and he'll also play on the colts super Saturday weekend when all the recruiters are in town.

"His dad will drive him down on a Thursday and they'll go back on the Sunday when he's playing or training with the State 18s.

"We're just trying to create the best situation for recruiters to look at him and for him to finish his schooling and not have too much travel."

Claremont football manager Dean Horsington said the club was hopeful that Martin would relocate to Perth after the under-18s titles, attend Clontarf College and play out the season with the Tigers.

He said AFL clubs would rather see Martin playing State league football than in the country.

"I think AFL clubs would definitely like to see him come back and commit to playing State level footy after the 18s," Horsington said.

"They'd like to see him play at the highest level he can for his particular age. I'm sure he'd be an attractive proposition for any AFL club."

Dover said Martin was the ideal player to be chosen under the GWS trading rule.

"His development at the moment is a bit like Stephen Hill," he said.

"If he came into the system and got the training and the gym work and the nutritional advice, it'd be a massive benefit."

The West Australian

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