AFL Rising Star favourite Jack Martin’s much-anticipated debut season with Gold Coast has been ruined by a shoulder injury.
No time frame has been put on his playing return as the Suns say Martin will be sidelined for an extended period after scans revealed “considerable damage” to his left AC joint.
The 19-year-old’s senior career wasn’t even a full quarter old when he sustained the injury diving for an errant kick by Tom Lynch in Gold Coast’s opening-round 18-point win over Richmond.
Expected to follow in the footsteps of clubmate Jaeger O’Meara who won last year’s Rising Star award, Martin said it was a deflating way to start his AFL career.
“It was a such a big build up and it was great that the boys got the win, but individually, I will probably remember it for all the wrong reasons,” he said in a Suns statement.
“I’m now just looking forward to starting my rehabilitation and giving myself every chance of playing some football later in the season.”
A West Australian product, Martin had shown superb skills and electric pace in the pre-season and had several AFL club captains tipping him to be the Rising Star.
Suns coaching director Malcolm Blight had also described him as the best young prospect he had seen in more than a generation.
“Jack and the club’s medical team will meet with specialists in the coming days to determine the appropriate course of action,” said Suns football operations manager Marcus Ashcroft.
“Although this is a very disappointing outcome for Jack, we will ensure we provide him with the very best medical and welfare support to assist him during his rehabilitation from the injury.”