Where are they now: Tony Martin
The lessons you learn off the field are just as important as the ones you learn on it.
Tony Martin knows that as much as anyone.
The former Storm centre remembers a time in 1998 when he came to Melbourne, rugby league no mans land, wide-eyed and solely focused on pursuing his dream of being a first grader.
But then Storm opened his eyes and made him realise there was more to life than just an oval-shaped, white ball.
“When I first got to Storm, I was only 19 at the time, they brought in one of the local universities and made us do an aptitude test,” Martin recalls.
“I performed pretty well in that so they gave me a gentle nudge in that direction that I should probably do something outside of training so that I had some sort of direction outside of footy.
“Looking back now and I am so glad that I did it because it got me into some good habits. I always studied, it was always part-time but it was something I did for my whole career and got something at the end of it.”
That ‘something’ was a Bachelor of Business as well as becoming a qualified stockbroker.
Martin went on to play 69 games and scored 20 tries for Storm, including the premiership in 1999 where he scored Melbourne’s first that day against the Dragons.
These days he puts his off-field qualifications to good use as a financial planner in Gladstone, the Queensland town where he was born and raised.
While the world of finance may seem a world away from the rugby league field, Martin is determined to bring the two together.
“I may be able to come back and be involved with the game by helping players with their financial issues and things like that,” Martin said.
“As an ex-player it is an easy conversation for me to have. To ask a player, ‘where do you want to be?’ ‘What do you want to do?’ It is easier than someone who has not played.
“Long term it is something that I would love to do. It is something I am passionate about having been there and played myself.”
Martin was an inaugural player at Melbourne Storm, something he still holds very dear to him.
Like everyone else who made the trip down south at that time he was unsure about what would become of a rugby league team in foreign territory.
However he looks back on that time in his life incredibly fondly and believes that element of the unknown meant the people are the Club during those days formed close bonds.
“My wife and I love Storm, love the place,” Martin said.
“I am still an avid Storm supporter, we’ve got some amazing memories and made some special friendships down there when the Club first started.
“It was 25 players and a few staff thrown together. No friends, no family and no one outside of the Club that anybody knew, so we were sort of pinched in each other’s back pockets.
“It was something pretty special… the Club was set up brilliantly well by the people who were first there. Everyone was happy off the field and our on field success just came off the back of that.
“I have some special memories of playing at Olympic Park and that ’99 Grand Final, getting to play in that as a 20-year-old I was very lucky.”