Heroes of Yesterday, Interview 6 - 16 March 2016 - Jason Martin
Where did you grow up?
I spent my early childhood out in noth west NSW before I moved to the coast. Tea Gardens is where I would consider home.
What was your first football experience?
My first footy experience other than the back yard with my much tougher brothers was at primary school as a six year old making up the numbers in the under 12's side.
I was fortunate enough to meet Kerry Boustead when I was 8. He was extremely generous with his time and he made an enormous impression on me. It was that experience that made me want to pursue a career in rugby league, even at that age. Years later I played with Kerry at North Sydney and joined him again at the Cowboys when he was CEO in 1995.
Did you collect footy cards as a kid ?
I collected the odd footy card as a kid. Nothing serious.
Who were your footballing heroes as a kid ?
My hero growing up was Tommy Raudonikis for sure. I followed the magpies and then Newtown when he moved there. Such a tough little human. Sterlo was my next pick. I watched Sterlo, I was in awe of his ability to control a game. Two pretty handy halfbacks.
Do you remember your first game in first grade, and what were the highlights and lowlights?
My first game in first grade was against Parramatta at Parramatta Stadium. I played a full game in reserves and the great late Scotty Gale got injured early so Frank Stanton threw me on. Highlight. Cover tackle on Eric Grothe Snr that took him over the sideline. Lowlight. Can't remember a thing after that.
What was it like being involved with the Cowboys during the first year in 1995?
The Cowboys was an interesting time. There was a plan to introduce young North Queensland players over the years and eventually have a team full of north Queenslanders. Super league unfortunately put a stop to that. We lost Kerry Boustead as CEO and then Grant Bell as coach. Belly was so passionate about the team and the entire area and it was a difficult time for all of us. Grant Bell has done so much for league in Queensland it's a shame he is not recognise a lot more.
Taking it to the Top, music cassette, can you tell us a little about that experience?
Oh the song. It's hard to remember that far back. Maybe I've blocked it out. I can't remember getting too much sledging. I'm sure there was some. I think it amused everyone more than anything.
What was your highlight of playing First Grade football?
Highlights. I managed to snare a couple of awards early in my career and that was special. I think it was more the other players that I had the opportunity to play with and against. It was a terrific era.
When did you know it was time to give the game away?
I was playing overseas in the English super league when I finished up at that level. The game had changed a lot and my heart wasn't in it. It was becoming a job more than fun. If I knew then what I know now I may have persevered. We were all very fortunate to be able to be a part of such a wonderful sport.
What followed after football?
After I finally hung up the boots I didn't really know what to do. I surfed, played the guitar in pubs and enjoyed life for a while. My wife helped me enormously to adapt to life outside the game. It wasn't easy.
Who was your most respected rival?
Peter Sterling was a childhood idol so playing against, he brought the best out of me as a player.
How has the game changed since your playing days?
The game has changed dramatically in my opinion. I miss the characters. I used to watch games or even play in games and you just knew something memorable would happen. An act of skill or brutality From an individual. There was a role for the big guys and a role for the little guys. Now, in my opinion it seems a little predictable and clinical. Players are so similar across the park.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
My favourite restaurant would be anywhere with friendly service, well priced, good food, good wine.
What are your hobbies?
I have quite a few hobbies that keep me busy. Music is very important. I still write a lot and play guitar, mostly for my own enjoyment these days. I also do a lot of artwork and have been working on a few things over the past few years that will hopefully help others to find more joy and fulfillment in their lives.
Have you collected your own footy cards ?
I have a few footy cards. The NRL presented us with a couple of albums full of cards from 1995-1996 I think. There's a few of mine in there. They are still packed away safely somewhere.
Did you keep a scrap book?
I have a good friend who's younger brother followed my career over the years. He presented me with a scap book when he got a bit older. That was really touching. My mum and dad kept every article and picture they could and put it all together for me as well. Another great gift.