Stefan Martin of the Lions and Jason Holmes of the Saints compete for the ball.
Stefan Martin of the Lions and Jason Holmes of the Saints compete for the ball. JOE CASTRO

Lions big man says he'll be back better than ever

AFL: Perfectionist Stef Martin is not content with just making amends for an injury-hit 2016.

The Brisbane Lions ruckman is adamant that next season he can surpass the lofty heights of his career-best form two years ago.

A nagging knee injury stifled Martin for most of this year and he was also knocked out by a Steve May bump in the fiery QClash in round four.

He never got close to the heroics of 2015 when he was one of the AFL's best ruckmen and captured a share of Brisbane's club champion award after reviving his career with a blistering finish to 2014.

Martin is studying for a law degree in his spare time and recently scored 100% for his criminal law subject and received two other high distinctions.

"The knee is going well now,” Martin said. "I was in a fair bit of pain last year but now I'm doing sprint training and leg weights so it's pretty exciting.

"I'm aiming higher than just doing better than last year. I want to top that sort of form I was showing the season before last.

"I'm feeling really good and with another two years' experience under my belt, I reckon I can top it.”

Martin has the size, athleticism and skill to dominate ruck opponents while also offering plenty of punch in general play.

While he has high expectations for himself next season, he believes a host of Lions will go to another level under the new regime at the Gabba headed by senior coach Chris Fagan and football boss David Noble.

"It's been cool to get a lot of buy-in from the players,” Martin said.

"We are all expected to have an opinion now, which is going to make every player self-driven rather than responding to stimulus from the coaches, trying to get them up and motivated.

"A lot of guys are going to become leaders quicker than they would have otherwise.”

Martin said Fagan wanted all the players to be able to play at least two positions and would be happy to potentially play a high forward role once his knee has fully recovered.

He has a number of years left before he completes his law degree and says hitting the books is a great release from football.

"After bad losses last year it was good to get on the plane and be able to divert my attention elsewhere,” Martin said.

Brisbane trained for the final time yesterday before their Christmas-new year break.



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