“I just wanted to get down and be amongst footy, footy in Melbourne and experience it all.”
Martin’s path to Carlton has been long. In the 2018 trade period Essendon tried to lure him but a deal fell by the wayside. The Blues came for him that year but it was too late for a decision to be made.
This time around the Blues had longer to make their pitch and so Martin agreed to head to Ikon Park, but Carlton and the Suns couldn’t work out a deal.
“I watched the last hour of the trade period in Europe. It was pretty stressful to be honest but it was good to be away [for it],” he said.
Carlton and their outgoing list boss Stephen Silvagni held their nerve and Silvagni’s final contribution to the Blues was Martin’s arrival in the pre-season draft. The Blues will pay him $2 million in the first two years of his five-year deal, where he will receive about $3 million over the term of the contract.
“It’s a sense of excitement and happiness,” Martin said. “[I’m] relieved at the same time. It’s been a long time coming but I am just excited for the journey ahead.
“I was still pretty confident throughout, was obviously in contact with my manager. It was [a] stressful situation but happy to be here.
“He [Silvagni] has been awesome. He has gone above and beyond to help myself and my partner.”
Martin said he was excited to play with one of his idols, Eddie Betts in the Blues forward line. The pair had been in contact for the past two weeks.
He also knows Blues players Patrick Cripps, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Mitch McGovern from his days as a junior in Western Australia.
The first pick as a 17-year-old in the 2012 mini-draft, Martin has been training on the Gold Coast and doing running with his partner while in limbo between the Suns and the Blues.
“I had seven years up there, loved my time up there, and then I just felt it was the right time for a change and Carlton was the best suited for me,” he said.
“We [Martin and some Carlton players] were out getting brekkie [during Friday’s pre-season draft]. I didn’t eat much, just had a piece of toast, was pretty nervous. Had about three coffees this morning so I have maxed out for the day.”
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.