From grassroots football to a premiership-winning coach, Ben Martin describes himself as very 'lucky' to have tasted many levels of success during his football career.
After a career spanning almost three decades on the field, Martin sits at full forward for the Swifts, watching, as his football mind ticks over anticipating the ball movement.
Starting his football career in the back pocket as a junior at Navarre Football Club, to playing in five premierships, winning two, including one as a coach, Martin said there was one key element, besides "playing with your mates", that made him pull his boots on every week.
"I love to win," he said.
"I am a competitive person, in any competition. Put me in a game of Uno and it's on."
Jokes aside, Martin's passion for the game is clear and the amount he has learnt during his career is evident in how he presents himself on the ground.
READ MORE: Ben Martin signs with Swifts - 2012
In his younger years, Martin wasn't destined to play football, only playing because his parents and siblings were part of what he describes as his "home" club.
From sitting on the bench as a young eight-year-old, Martin only got on the field in the last five minutes of the quarters in the under-16 competition.
"I finished under-16's and went straight into seniors at Navarre in the ruck and forward line," he said.
"I moved over to the Stawell Warriors as a 20-year-old. It was the first time a club had come and approached me to play football for them.
"The season before I moved I came ninth in the league best and fairest and won the club's most improved. I'm not totally sure, but that could have influenced their decision to come and have a chat with me."
Martin played three seasons at the Warriors and in his first year came runners up in the best and fairest count.
"I left after we lost the grand final," he said.
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"Stawell was in a pretty good position but I had Navarre ring me up and ask if I would like to come and coach.
"It was something I always wanted to do so I jumped at the opportunity. I was quite young, still in my early 20's. They hadn't played finals for a couple of years so it was a big job to get the list back to where it needed to be for the team to play finals again."
In 2010, Martin claimed both the league best and fairest and club best and fairest awards playing as a centreman, not in the ruck.
In Martin's tenure as Navarre coach, the senior football team were awarded a finals appearance.
"Our finals campaign was a stinker leading into the grand final," he said.
"We racked up so many injuries in the finals campaign. We got out to a fairly good lead early in the game.
"I was playing in the middle and bent down to pick up the ball and a bloke come sliding in and took out my knee.
Martin said he left the ground and returned with his knee heavily taped
"It gave way a second time and that's when I squealed like a pig," he said.
"I was stretchered from the ground. Matt Jess, Daniel Parkin and myself were all injured on the bench from then on in the game.
"We lost by 18 points in the end - I think about that game a lot."
Martin said despite not being able to change the outcome, he still replays the result in his head.
"So many times I sit and think about how I could have changed that outcome," he said.
"If I had of been a better coach back then and maybe put more time into the kids that were coming through we might have had a different outcome.
"Now I sit and think about it and I realise the focus needs to be on the bottom six players, not the top six players - generally those bottom six are the difference between winning a flag and not."
One of the hardest things Martin said he ever had to do was address the club and players after that game at the club rooms.
"I broke down in front of everyone - it was absolutely gut-wrenching for me," he said.
"This game, this loss, it cut me deep."
Martin spent 12 months on the sidelines due to injury and pondered about what was next for him in his football career.
"I still had aspirations to coach. I wanted to tick the box of being a premiership coach," he said.
I broke down in front of everyone - it was absolutely gut-wrenching for meBen Martin
"The year I left Navarre and had the year off I had a few choices about where I could go.
"I had a look at where clubs were situated and directions they were heading. The list always comes into it and if it could be built up or tweaked.
"That's when I joined the Baggies in 2013 - I thought they weren't too far away."
Martin played and coached in the 2014 premiership at Swifts - a moment he said would never forget.
Martin also won the league goal kicking in the premiership year.
Coming away from the premiership hype, Martin decided it was time for another change and headed north and signed on for a season at the Warrack Eagles.
"I just wanted to get away from everything and concentrate on playing football," he said.
"I did my own little pre-season around the area - I tore my hamstring and had to have the first ten weeks off.
"I didn't feel like I had a proper crack at it. We didn't win a game and as a competitive person, I didn't particularly like that.
"There was a lot of firsts that year. First time in my senior football career I never played finals and it was the first time I played in a team which hadn't won a game all year."
In 2016, Martin went "home" to Navarre and won his first premiership with the club where it all started.
"It was really fulfilling. I got to play with a couple of my best mates," he said.
It's such a special honour to be named alongside your father in the game we both loveBen Martin
"I had achieved everything at that club expect for winning a premiership.
"My plan was to go out there and finish my football career. In 2017 we backed it up to get to another grand final but we lost that."
Martin thought that loss could have been his last game of football.
"I ended up coming back to Swifts and to sit at full forward," he said.
"The direction Scott (Carey) was heading to I thought why not - we could be in line for another flag."
Looking ahead to life after football, Martin said he just takes it one day at a time.
"I manage my workload and training as I get older and my body starts to break down," he said.
"Life after football would probably consist of golf. I never say never but right now I couldn't see myself as a non-playing coach.
"I'm looking forward to playing golf. I hate watching football, it's frustrating not being out on the field."
In a career full of team and personal highlights, Martin said there were a few accolades which stood out the most.
"I coached both Navarre and Swifts in their 100 year anniversaries," he said,
"I was named centre-half-back at Navarre in a team of the 2000s era.
"My dad, Owen, made the team as well but in a different era as the club couldn't justify having just a team of the century.
"I was very humbled to make that team - it's such a special honour to be named alongside your father in the game we both love."
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