West Australian Nic Martin has taken on board bruising feedback in the wake of Essendon’s horror end to the season and is already finding new ways to get better.
With finals on the line, the Bombers ended their season with a whimper with back-to-back thrashings at the hands of Collingwood and GWS.
The performances were labelled as “unacceptable” by club president David Barham while coach Brad Scott made no secret he would not accept any slacking off in the off-season.
Now defender Mason Redman and exciting winger Martin have heeded those words and have been working with jiu-jitsu specialist Max Viney, the brother of Melbourne’s Jack.
“The players leave with a sick feeling in their stomach, and that should drive their off-season,” Scott said.
“This is the first opportunity I’ve got to drive an off-season, as to what that looks like and the expectations that we have,
“The observations of the last nine to 12 months … it’s nowhere near where it needs to be.”
Viney, a black belt in the sport, runs his own studio and has worked with a host of AFL and AFLW stars — including his brother and Brownlow Medal fancy Christian Petracca — relying on Greco-Roman wrestling and other martial arts forms to help with tackling and grappling mechanics.
Viney said he has moulded traditional martial arts to better suit game-specific situations.
“The guys who stand out from the rest, they’re always looking for something to set them apart from everyone else,” Viney said to Zero Hanger back in April.
“AFL players are so talented, even when they’re getting tackled they still get the ball off to their teammate with a handball or on the boot,”
“So it’s finding that balance between taping arms up while you’re grappling someone or tackling someone.”
Whether or not the work Redman and Martin are putting in will have tangible results for Essendon remains to be seen but their efforts have been appreciated by Bombers faithful.
“Love this, hopefully the team take note and follow standards they have set,” one user commented.