Gold Coast's successful building of WA star Jaeger O'Meara into their senior list for next year has prompted them to trade their No.2 national draft pick to secure teenage Geraldton sensation Jack Martin.
The Suns chose not to make a bid for Melbourne's father-son selection Jack Viney, allowing the Demons to take him with pick No.26. They instead opted for Martin by trading with Greater Western Sydney under Giants concessions regarding access to the best two 17-year-olds in the nation.
Melbourne expect to secure Claremont colts key forward Jesse Hogan under the same concessions in a deal with the Giants which will include their national draft pick No.3. They are likely to add another trade pick to the deal in return for Hogan and a current GWS player. It will leave the Giants with the first three picks in the national draft.
O'Meara went to Gold Coast via the 17-year-old "mini-draft" concessions for GWS last year and Suns football operations manager Marcus Ashcroft admitted the club's results with him had given them confidence they could have similar development success with Martin.
"He's a very good user of the ball, a great decision-maker and also really hard at it. 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," Ashcroft said.
"We followed Jaeger for two or three years prior as well and to watch his development in the reserves, we know he'll come in round one next year and be able to play senior footy straight away."
AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan likened the 185cm Martin to Hawthorn's Shaun Burgoyne: "His run and carry is exceptional, his marking is exceptional, he's wiry, brave and competitive. He's got all the traits of a potential star."
WA under-18s coach Michael Pratt declared Gold Coast had produced a masterstroke and would have one of the most talented midfields in the AFL by snaring Martin.
The Suns also had to part with draft pick 63 and a compensation selection to GWS for a different compensation pick to sign Martin, who will join fellow WA young guns O'Meara, David Swallow (No.1 pick in the 2010 draft) and Harley Bennell (pick No.2 in 2010) at the club. Pratt has coached Martin, O'Meara and Bennell and said having four young stars alongside Gary Ablett would make the Suns an imposing team in coming years.
"They're going to be awesome. Jaeger and Jack are two of the most talented kids I've ever seen. I think they'll go on to have terrific careers at senior level," Pratt said."Harley has gone from strength to strength … . I think he'll go on to become a super player. David's already shown that he's highly capable."
Originally from Broome, Martin has spent several years living in Geraldton to be closer to Perth for football commitments. He has been part of the AFL Academy and was picked in the All-Australian under-18 team this season.
Martin played a few colts games for Claremont this season but chose to remain in Geraldton and play senior football for Towns in the Great Northern Football League. He was best afield with six goals in the grand final win over Railways.
Martin was at Eco Beach yesterday and, with limited phone reception, only learnt of his selection after discovering a series of missed calls midway through the morning.
"Being at an AFL club is a dream come true," he said. "I'll benefit from going to the club now because I've got a lightly-framed body. I've got all of next year to build myself up and get really fit for 2014."
Yesterday's father-son bidding meeting resulted in Joe Daniher joining Essendon (for pick 10) and the Western Bulldogs securing Lachie Hunter (pick 46).