If you ever required proof there is immense value in those who slip through the cracks at clubs and pass under the radar of recruiters, Nic Martin would be Exhibit A.
After being overlooked in three drafts and not given a shot with the West Coast Eagles* after training with them, Martin packed up his bags and headed east to train with the Bombers ahead of the 2022 season. What has occurred since has opened the eyes of many as to what they may have overlooked or written off.
Sometimes a diamond just needs a bit of polishing before it is ready to go on display.
I vividly remember a pair of games in the preseason of 2022. The first was an intraclub game at Tullamarine, that inwatched in person. It was a game in which several players were pushing for a place on the senior list. First amongst them was Tex Wanganeen, and the popular opinion before the game was that he would be made part of the Essendon list before the start of the season. That left one place on the Bombers’ list up for grabs, however, with mid-season drafting now an annual AFL fixture, many expected Essendon to bank that spot and use it as a mechanism to fill a void that developed during the season.
It turned out to be a wise move to use it early.
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