SIR Doug Nicholls Round was always in Jack Martin’s calendar.
It was in the final moments - with 45 seconds left on the clock - of Carlton’s Round 2 clash with Collingwood when Martin, attempting to lay a forward-50 tackle on Josh Daicos.
The Magpie collided with Martin’s knee, with the PCL injury ruling the dynamic forward out for the next eight matches.
As fate would have it, Martin is now available to make his return for Sunday’s first of two Sir Doug Nicholls Round matches, wearing the Navy Blue guernsey designed by Laura Thompson.
Unsurprisingly, Martin said it was a round that bears extra significance for the Yawuru man.
“It’s a round to always look forward to,” Martin said.
“I probably could’ve played last week, but it was this round which was always in the calendar. Training in the last few weeks, I’ve been like ‘I’m going to push through, I want to get up and play’.
“What it means to me is it’s a great opportunity to represent my people back home in Broome and Indigenous players past and present.”
Martin will be one of four Indigenous Blues running out on the SCG on Sunday, joining Eddie Betts, Liam Jones and Zac Williams.
It’ll be the first game which Betts, Martin and Williams have all played together, with Betts returning to the side the week after Martin was injured.
After three goals in that Round 2 clash, Martin has put in the hard yards as he prepares for a consistent run in the second half of the 2021 season — however it looks.
“I feel good. It’s been a long period on the sidelines,” he said.
“I’ve put in a tremendous amount of work over the last couple of weeks. I’m excited to have the opportunity to run out this weekend.”
Martin is preparing for another clash on interstate soil, with only six of his Carlton games so far having come in Victoria.
With the Blues having packed their bags in a rush on Tuesday night to jet to Sydney on Wednesday, Martin was hopeful of a quick return back to Melbourne when the time is right.
However, until then, the playing group knows that there are valuable points at stake.
“With everything that’s going on in Melbourne at the moment, we had to pack up and get on the plane the next day,” he said.
“The boys are okay, we’ve done it before so we know what to expect. We’re taking each day as it comes.
“Nothing changes in terms of our preparation: we trained [on Thursday]… a light skills session on Friday, a captain’s run on Saturday… and we’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”