Martin up for English lessons

Shayne Hope
·2-min read

Stefan Martin heads to the Western Bulldogs determined to fight for ruck time but is adamant that pursuit won't come at the cost of stifling new teammate Tim English's development.

Martin, who turns 34 next week, joined his third AFL club in a trade after effectively being squeezed out of Brisbane by the arrival of free agent Joe Daniher.

The Lions were unable to give Martin guarantees over game time in 2021 or even a spot in the squad, with the extent of the reduction on list sizes for next year yet to be confirmed.

It left Martin free to explore options and a mentoring role for developing star English - similar to the one he played with Brisbane's Oscar McInerney - appealed to the veteran.

"I'm not coming there to get Tim English out of the way, in fact, I want him to blossom while I'm there and it's really important to me that he does because it would be unfair to the club to stifle his improvement whatsoever," Martin said.

"I'll do all I can off the field for that, and also on the field. I'm not going there for my own personal selfish reasons.

"Of course I want to play as well as I can and contribute to the team but I think the ability of Tim and I to move around the ground might make us quite dynamic."

Martin has kept an eye on English's development since the emerging star was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft, and likes what he sees in the 23-year-old.

"I reckon he's got everything you need to be a perennial All-Australian," Martin said.

"He'd probably admit that one thing he might want to work on is strength, which comes with time, but as well you've got to put your mind to it and your effort to it.

"The sky's the limit for him and it might seem like I'm going to teach him and mentor him, but I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot off him as well."

Martin battled hamstring, knee and back injuries in 2020, which limited him to just eight games, but returned to play in both Brisbane's finals matches.

"It was the worst run I've had but thank God I've had a bit of time to rest now and my back has healed really beautifully and my knee is as good as ever," Martin said.

"On paper it was a horrible year but I've seemingly regenerated really quickly."