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Interchange cap 'will make it a lot harder' for Lion Martin

Michael Whiting  February 2, 2016 3:00 PM

AFL 2015 Rd 17 - Brisbane v North Melbourne

Stef Martin is bracing for a tough season

STEFAN Martin is fresh from a career-best year, but he has some concerns ahead of the 2016 season.

Martin was one of four players to share the Brisbane Lions' best and fairest in 2015, averaging 22 disposals and 32 hit-outs in his 20 games.

It was a season in which he emerged as one of the AFL's elite ruckmen, just behind Todd Goldstein, Nic Naitanui and Aaron Sandilands.

At 29, Martin is getting better with age, but says reducing the interchange cap from 120 to 90 could have a big impact.

"It will make it a lot harder," he said.

"Last year if Leuey (Matthew Leuenberger) wasn't there I tended to play 95 percent game time anyway, so I've had a fair bit of exposure to it.

"It may be tough over 20 games to keep backing up that sort of game time."

With Leuenberger now shipped off to Essendon, the Lions' ruck stocks are a touch thin, with just Trent West and rookie Archie Smith to back Martin up.

Martin will get small stints of help from Josh Walker and Daniel Merrett, but will carry the brunt of the load.

"It's going to be hard on everyone I think, not just the ruck spot," he said.

At 197cm, Martin is not mammoth by rucking standards, but with his hulking physique and great aerobic ability, he competes well in the contest and as virtually an extra midfielder once the ball hits the ground.

"We haven't talked about player management and resting blokes, but we're running more volume in the pre-season and doing the work now so we can stand up to the extra demands on us this year," he said.

"But the week-to-week management will start when we start the season."

Martin was joined by young Lions star Harris Andrews on Tuesday as the pair unveiled the club's renovated gym at the Gabba.

The facility was upgraded late last year after a water leak caused major damage to the old gym.