Slammin' Sam set to take Jets into orbit
SAM Martin has been hailed as the unsung hero of the Ipswich Jets.
But the 27-year-old back-rower is set to do all those one percenters he is renowned for at greater speed and with more dexterity than ever after getting himself in great shape.
The Jets are getting right into their high intensity cross-fit program as part of their new partnership with CrossFit Western Front at North Ipswich.
Martin has lost three kilograms, now weighing in at 98.5kg.
He hopes to get down to 96kg by season kick-off.
The Ipswich plumber has relished his pre-season training.
He plays in the middle and punches out big minutes each week.
Get set for even more minutes with more impact.
"I'm enjoying training at the moment and I have got a lot stronger," Martin said.
"It is high intensity training and it is good for footy.
"It is short and sharp and most of the exercises we are doing are 20 minutes maximum.
"We do a lot of weight lifting and then we get into a short, intense workout that lasts about 10 or 15 minutes.
"All the boys know what times they get so it is real competitive with us trying to beat each other.
"These days forwards play 80 minutes. There are no big boppers running around any more."
Martin started playing Colts for the Jets in 2007 and Cup in 2010.
Despite missing the finals last year, Martin is confident the Jets can return to the form that saw them reach five finals series in a row and win the 2015 Intrust Super Cup premiership.
"We are pretty confident," he said.
"We lost a few players last year and the ones who filled in have bonded and we are ready for a big year.
"There is a real good vibe in the camp now.
"I love the Jets style.
"You can run around with the ball and do what you want and play what is in front of you, rather than the boring block plays and set plays.
"We all enjoy playing like that and even as a forward you are always looking for an offload or to beat the play.
"You are not just running that hard hit-up.
"When opponents come against us they don't know what to expect."
One of Martin's favourite forwards growing up was Manly legend Anthony Watmough and there are similarities in the way they play.
Watmough was everywhere, all the time.
He had no regard for self preservation and always put his body on the line for his team.
Martin is the same, as co-coach Ben Walker explained.
When the Jets pick their side any week, Martin is listed on the team sheet as a matter of course.
"Sam is vitally important to us," Walker said.
"He is one of these super reliable back-rowers who is uncompromising and tough.
"When there is a ball on the ground, no-one gets to it quicker than he does.
"Not many people in Ipswich would have said Marto' would play his whole career in the Queensland Cup and win a premiership with the Jets.
"But through his toughness, resilience and determination and all the things that we look for he has been able to shine.
"Sam is in great shape and he is a player we will yet see more improvements from."