Nic Martin is just about to shed his 'under-the-radar' tag.

The emerging Bombers gun is piecing together a brilliant season as one of Essendon's wingmen, which continued on Sunday in his side's six-point win over North Melbourne.

Martin had 21 disposals and kicked two crucial goals in the clash to continue what has been another big step forward for him in his second AFL campaign.

Dig into all of the numbers and the 22-year-old is reaching special levels for a 33-gamer.


He is the second-highest rated wingman in the AFL this season according to AFL Player Ratings (behind Sydney's Errol Gulden), and for wingmen he is rated the best in the competition for his kick rating, score assists (1.5 on average) and score involvements (6.3 a game).

Martin's value is not as much in quantity as it is in quality. He ranks sixth in the AFL for disposals and contested possessions, and eighth in uncontested disposals, but his kicking has set him apart.

Champion Data statistics show the Bombers have taken a mark from 30 per cent of Martin's kicks into the forward 50, which places him as the sixth-best percentage of the top 100 players in the AFL for total kicks into the forward 50.

His kick rating of +7.3 per cent sees him sitting fourth of the 74 players with at least 140 kicks this season (behind Carlton's Adam Saad, St Kilda's Jack Sinclair and Sydney's Jake Lloyd), while he ranks inside Essendon's top-four for AFL Player Ratings, uncontested possessions, score assists and score involvements a game.

Nic Martin was dominant against North Melbourne. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Martin was first eligible for the draft in 2019 but didn't get his chance until last season, when he was invited to train at Essendon as a pre-season supplemental selection period addition.

He signed weeks before the season and made a memorable debut in round one against Geelong, when he kicked five goals from 27 disposals, and finished eighth in the Bombers' best and fairest.

Martin has missed only one game since that debut (the following week when he had to sit it out due to COVID protocols), with the wingman's rise detailed in the numbers, too. Of every player who has played at least five games last season and five games this season, his AFL Player Rating improvement of 5.8 points (8.1 in 2022 to 13.9 this season) ranks third in the competition.

Only St Kilda's Mitchito Owens and Richmond's Jacob Hopper have had bigger jumps since last year, with Hopper injury-hit last season with the Giants and Owens in his debut season.

Martin has averaged nearly a goal a game across his career (28) whilst playing 73 per cent of his game time this season as a wingman. For comparison, Gulden, the only wingman ranked higher, has spent 45 per cent as a wingman and 43 per cent as a midfielder.

Essendon coach Brad Scott said last week that Martin is representative of the Bombers on the whole as they hit the mid-way point of the season placed 7-5 and in the top six on the ladder. 


"He's a really versatile player and he's played a variety of roles for us, and he'll continue to over the next few months as we continue to strive for what our best mix looks like. "Since his debut last year where he burst onto the scene with five goals, he continues to improve," Scott said.

"He probably is a bit reflective of our team – he's shown some good signs but the thing we're most excited about is the upside from him."

Nic Martin – Champion Data 

2023 average

Wing ranking

AFL Player Ratings






Contested Possessions



Uncontested Possessions 



Kick Rating 



Score Assists 



Score Involvements