After his first two seasons at the top level were cruelled by injury, 21-year old Jack Martin was finally able to get himself on the park for an extended period in 2016 and give the football world a real taste of his limitless potential.

The West Australian entered the AFL in 2014 as the most hyped teenager of recent times but dislocated his shoulder in his debut match, managing just 11 games in his maiden campaign and 12 last year after battling a hamstring issue.

But Martin was able to put his best foot forward this season, compiling a breakout game in round two against Fremantle, collecting 16 disposals, 11 marks and booting four goals to help steer his side to their first win in the west.

After booting another three goals in round three, Martin suffered through a lean patch between rounds four and eight like many of his teammates before coach Rodney Eade shifted the classy ball user to the backline following Adam Saad’s hamstring injury.

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It’s a masterstroke by the veteran mentor that paid dividends, with Martin adding polish to the back six whilst increasing his own output for the rest of the season to 18.2 disposals per game at 79% efficiency.

Martin’s round 16 performance against Brisbane was one particular game in which he oozed class with 29 touches, nine marks and five rebound 50s.

Last Friday’s third placing in the SUNS’ Club Champion was reward for effort for the emerging youngster as he looks to push into the elite bracket of players in the competition.

“I’m very humbled and honoured to receive the award,” Martin told SUNS TV.

“There is a lot of people that I’d like to thank. First off my family back in WA (and) the support they’ve given to me.

“The coaching staff, Andy (Lovell) and Ash (Prescott) in particular.”

Despite his rise as a rebounding defender, Martin still sees himself as a forward but is happy to play where the coaching staff sees fit.

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“I’m still sort of undecided but I’m happy to play wherever. As I said I’ve enjoyed my time down back but I think predominantly I’m a forward,” Martin said.

“I really enjoy it down back, obviously went through the midfield as well but I really enjoyed my time down there. I’ve learnt a lot from a few of the leaders down there, Jarrod Harbrow and Steven May.

“I just want to improve and get better, going to have a big pre-season and look forward to 2017.”

As for next season, Martin is looking to build on the momentum he’s generated in 2016 with a big summer in the gym and on the track.

“I think firstly I think I need to have a big pre-season,” Martin said.

“I’ve got to make sure I come back fit and ready to go. Just build my base and get a lot stronger.”


Click here to watch Martin's Club Champion acceptance speech