Rival clubs circling Suns star
JACK Martin will put off contract talks until well into the season as Melbourne clubs prepare to launch raids to drag him out of the Gold Coast.
Martin's hot early start to the season has an array of Victorian clubs frothing at the mouth about his intoxicating mix of outside speed, goal sense and improving contested work.
Gold Coast is far from out of the race to re-sign Martin after their 2-1 start to the season, as coach Stuart Dew runs an increasingly elite football program.
Ironically Essendon, the only Victorian club he was prepared to go to before an aborted trade last year, would likely be out of consideration if he became available this year.
The Bombers don't have a first-round draft pick after the Shiel trade and have salary cap commitments which would likely put them out of contention.
Martin is one of Dew's early success stories after coasting along on his immense talent but rarely dominating games in his first five seasons.
He was challenged by Dew this year to become a dominant player, with the second-year coach using the example of Patrick Cripps playing elite football in a wooden-spoon side.
Martin has averaged 22 possession as a mid-forward and increased his tackling and contested work, with his goal tally of 2.8 the only blemish on an elite season.
Last year with his partner's family in Melbourne and the Suns struggling on field, he was determined to get to Essendon.
They made it clear their priority was Dylan Shiel and when the GWS midfielder chose the Dons the trade fell over.
Other Victorian clubs expressed interest but he was happy to return to the Gold Coast, who welcomed him back with open arms and a mature attitude.
They had made clear they had no intention of trading him under any circumstances.
Some of his partner's family has since moved to the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, the Suns also will hope to re-sign key tall Peter Wright but have made an excellent start to their retention strategy this year.
Key leaders Jarrod Witts, David Swallow, David Swallow and Touk Miller have all signed long-term extensions.
Dew said this week it was a sign of the club's direction and a show of faith for young players who might have once questioned the club's long-term direction.