JACK Martin is set to run out in his 100th game of AFL football this weekend against Geelong.
Originally selected by the Gold Coast Suns as the first pick in the 2012 mini draft, Martin would go onto to play 97 games for the Suns.
In his time on the Gold Coast, he kicked 81 goals and earned two places in the AFLPA 22under22 side, a Rising Star nomination in 2014 and a spot in the 2015 Indigenous All-Star team.
His 100th game comes nearly six years since his debut against Richmond in Round 1 of 2014 – a game Martin would arguably prefer to forget given he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opening minutes.
Martin’s time at the Suns came to an end when his wish to become a Blue eventuated during the 2019 pre-season draft.
Able to play alongside one of his idols in Eddie Betts, the move to the Blues was well worth the wait – and even a few grey hairs for Martin.
"It was a stressful period, as you can imagine," Martin said in an interview with AFL.com.au earlier this year.
“I’ve actually got a few greys coming through on the beard now. I don’t know if they’re from those few months or not.
"I think myself, my family and my partner knew it was going to be a long process. It wasn't just going to happen overnight. All along, we were pretty confident it was going to get done. But we just didn't expect for it to take that long.
"It's definitely worth the wait, walking through those doors. I've loved every moment of it so far and I wouldn't take it back. I'm just really enjoying my time here to be honest."
His first game saw him provide a much-needed spark for the Blues against the Tigers, where he kicked four goals in his Navy Blue debut.
Even in the disappointing loss to Melbourne in Round 2, Martin was one of the Blues’ best: his football smarts and explosive play were best on display when he roved a dropped mark at full speed before blitzing away from his opponent and finding a target in the forward line.
It’s not just on the field that Martin has impressed, however.
Senior Coach David Teague has spoken several times of the impact that the new Blue has had on the rest of the group.
“I’ve been on record saying he’s lifted the standard,” Teague said before Round 2.
“He doesn’t stand out now.
“Other guys are matching him, and I think he has to take credit for that.”
The importance of the milestone will not be lost on the remainder of the playing group as they finalise their preparations for an important game against the Cats.