|High price tag, but is this young star may be worth the cash...|
By the Stats...
Club: Gold Coast
Price: DT $217,800/ Fantasy 268,300/ SC 222,300
Bye: Round 8
2012 – NAB AFL U18 Champs: DT 101/ SC 128
2013 – NEAFL: DT 97/ SC 111
"If I talk about some Lions players I'd say he's got the gut run and courage of Nigel Lappin, he's got the fearlessness of Michael Voss and the amazing elite skill and ability to mark the ball of a Daryl White." - Shaun Hart
“Jack's got it all...Size doesnt matter for him. I've already seen him take on 6'9, 6'10 blokes and tackle them. This is going to be one hell of a player." - Malcolm Blight
Going into the 2014 season, there is much hype surrounding Jack Martin, with people high up in the footy world saying that this young man has the skills to develop into one of the best AFL players in a long time. But with great power comes a great price tag, can Jack live up to his status of most expensive rookie of all time? Let's have a look, shall we?
After being drafted in the 2012 mini-draft to the Gold Coast Suns, Martin began the 2013 season playing four games in the NAB cup. In the first two shortened games of 20 minute halves, Martin scored 27 and 21, making him one of the better scorers for the Suns. In the next two longer games, Martin predictably fell off a little due to his fitness and inexperience, only scoring 38 and 28. A fair effort for a 17 year old, and despite not setting the world alight, it gave him experience of the sort of football he needs to produce in the future.
During the season proper, Martin saw himself playing in the Gold Coast NEAFL as he was still under-age. Throughout the year he played 12 out of 18 possible games, being rested for 3 games and injured for 3, to make sure his young body did not blow out from the stresses of the next level. Over his 12 NEAFL games, Martin collected an average of 97 DT per game with top scores of 130 in rounds 2 and 7. Throughout the season, he showed great consistency only dropping below 77 DT once, in a 39 DT match where he was tagged. Statistics wise Jack averaged 20 touches per game with 71.4% effectiveness , along with 5 marks and 6 tackles. Comparing his DT average to his statistics shows that Martin doesn't have to collect huge numbers to build his score, this especially thanks to his pressure on the ball carrier, shown from him attaining 8+ tackles in 5 of 12 matches.
From a Supercoach point of view, Martin averaged 128 in the 2012 U18 Champs, and 111 in the 2013 NEAFL season, both much higher than his Dreamteam scores at the time. His standout stats included 6 clearances per game topping 12 twice and 3.4 inside 50's per game. He also looked very promising in contested situations despite his build, with 62% of his touches being contested possessions at an average of 13 per game. Martin also ranked in the elite for pressure acts, a highly rated stat in the modern game. At this stage it looks as if Martin will be a more prolific scorer in the Supercoach game, but that doesn't mean he won't rock the Dreamteam format as well.
Martin's efforts in the NEAFL did not go unrecognised, winning the Gold Coast Suns reserves Best and Fairest and also polled 11 votes in the NEAFL Brownlow equivalent, finishing in the top 10 despite only playing two-thirds of the season. The seventeen year old also managed to be named in the forward pocket for the NEAFL Northern Conference Team of the Year. All of these are great achievements for a player of his age.
The only possible negatives, to the youngster is his physique and price. His 71kg frame is behind O'Meara's 82kg, who was in the same position as Martin last year, but even without the extra weight, it has been seen Martin still offers much in the tight, contested situations for his size. His price of 268,300 AFL Fantasy/ 222,300 SC making him the most expensive rookie is only a minor deterrent as well, being arguably the best rookie prospect of the year thanks to his solid job security and decent scoring potential. Be aware though, that he may be rested sporadically during the year if his NEAFL season is any indicator of how the Suns will be managing this future star, but that's to be expected for a young player like him.
+Guaranteed game time
+Arguably best rookie prospect
-Still has weight to put on
-Game time will be managed
Thanks for reading, what're your thoughts on this speedy on-baller? Over-priced, or worth every penny?