AFTER a season derailed by injury, Jack Martin showed the football world just what he was capable of against West Coast on Sunday.
While his older teammates struggled to contain a rampant Eagles midfield in the 52-point loss, Martin shone in the Queensland sun with 19 disposals and four goals.
He delivered the ball beautifully off both feet, took a soaring pack mark in the third quarter and ran just as hard defensively as he did offensively in a complete performance.
It was the sort of display that justified the pre-season wraps that had him favoured to win the NAB AFL Rising Star award.
It put the exclamation mark on the 19-year-old's season, which started with a dislocated shoulder minutes into his round one debut against Richmond.
After 12 weeks of rehabilitation the West Australian came straight back into the senior team and has slowly built his game over the final 10 weeks.
"We want to get games into Jack," Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna said post-match.
"Over the last month he's competed for that ball, his repeat efforts have got better and today ultimately … it's the game he's fittest in, and surprise, surprise, you get that result."
While Martin starred, the loss showed McKenna that Gold Coast would need to explore the trade and free agency market to bolster its midfield depth.
He said the workload on fourth-year midfielders David Swallow, Dion Prestia and Harley Bennell, along with second-year star Jaeger O'Meara, had become too great following the season-ending shoulder injury to skipper Gary Ablett.
"Certainly mature bodies, yeah," McKenna said when questioned what his team needed.
"(List manager) Scott (Clayton) and my conversations are around that for sure.
"I think those players who have completed their fourth seasons have shown what they need to show.
"Should we expect them to play 22 games at that intensity? We'd love them to do that, but that doesn't happen. It doesn't even happen to Chris Judd or Gary Ablett; at some stage there's going to be a tailing off.
"The constant battering of those four-year mids took its toll."