Reported by Paul Amy
Full Story
Click Here

THE Bull became a Dolphin and now he's a Magpie.

Just as he set out to do when he left Noble Park 12 months ago, Kyle Martin completed the rise to AFL ranks when Collingwood selected him in today's AFL rookie draft.

The Pies had interviewed Martin after his best-and-fairest season at Frankston Dolphins, but made no promises about taking him.

The plumber slipped away from work this morning to watch the draft on his mobile phone and was stunned when his name popped up on the AFL website.

"It's always been a goal to get drafted, and it's a big thrill that it's happened," he told Leader a few minutes later.

"It's a shock, but a good one.

"I was always hoping for it but in the back of my mind I was sceptical about getting a crack at it."

The strongly built midfielder was a star junior at Noble and went through to the Sandringham Dragons, playing for Vic Metro at the national Under 18 championships.

Most TAC Cup graduates go on to the VFL, but Martin, without the ambition to match his ability, returned to the Bulls.

His impact was immediate and impressive: he won the senior best and fairest and the Eastern league's Young Gun award.

"Good, isn't he?" former Hawthorn star Daniel Harford, then coaching Balwyn, said after one match. "I've been following his progress pretty closely. He marks well, he kicks well, he's quick, he reads the play well."

In the following two years Martin played in Noble premierships and was runner-up in a league medal.

At the end of 2011 Bulls coach Mick Fogarty encouraged him to move to the VFL, saying there was little more for him to achieve at Moodemere St.

Fogarty always believed the right-footer capable of playing at the highest level and watched with delight as he made a duck-to-water transition to the state league.

Martin claimed Frankston's top trophy, was named in the VFL team of the year and represented the state against Tasmania.

Fogarty was among the first people to ring the 22-year-old after Collingwood called his name.

"I just said to him that I was rapt all the hard work he did this year paid off," he said.

"I said, 'Enjoy it, but the hard work starts now'.

"It's a massive opportunity for Kyle. He's just been picked up by the biggest club in Australia.

"His whole life is going to change. He's going to get an opportunity to make a career out of football."