‘I’ll get five of them’: Martin signs one-year deal
HE might not be getting any younger but Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin is all smiles after signing a one-year contract extension with his beloved Lions.
Tuesday's announcement capped a spectacular turnaround for the 32-year-old, who entered 2019 under immense pressure to shake persistent back and ankle injuries as well as keeping his No.1 rucking role from NEAFL prospect Archie Smith.
It was almost a coin-flip between Martin and Smith for coach Chris Fagan's opening side but with Martin's experience preferred and the Lions enjoying unprecedented success since, stunning West Coast in Round 1, the big man hasn't looked back.
Martin, who has featured in all 19 Brisbane games this season, including drought-breaking wins over Sydney, Adelaide and GWS Giants, said playing footy has never been better.
"I've said to a few people, this feels like what footy should be," Martin said.
"I personally haven't experienced anything like this before.
"Having been around for a while, it's like I'm a young kid again.
"This type of work environment, this type of job satisfaction are things new to me.
"It's easily the most exciting time I've been around a footy club."
Martin isn't alone in that regard, with Brisbane fans revelling in their club's surge from cellar-dwellers to genuine flag contenders.
Last Saturday's away win over Hawthorn locked down the Lions' first finals berth since 2009 and Fagan is setting his sights squarely on securing a top-four finish.
Just playing in September is a dream come true for Martin, who is yet to play finals footy in a 12-year career across Brisbane and Melbourne.
Lions football manager David Noble is eager to keep the veteran beyond the business end of this season.
"Over the past three years Stef has become a valued member of our leadership group and continues to contribute," Noble said of the club's decision to extend Martin's contact.
"He invests so much of his time and energy into the team with the aim of achieving success."
Martin was eager to sign a longer deal but said: "That's the way it goes when you're the wrong side of 30. I would have taken more, but it is what it is.
"I'll just keep getting one-year deals, I'll get five of them.
"I feel like this club is my family. This will be eight years next year, it's the only place I want to play my footy."