Gregory John Martin
- 678Wallaby Number
Greg Martin was a strong all-round fullback with the wonderful ability to chime into a backline who spent two seasons as the Wallabies’ first choice custodian. An incisive runner and a solid defender, Martin also possessed a big left boot that more than effectively relieved defensive pressure.
Born and bred in Brisbane, Martin was educated at Brisbane Grammar School where he spent two years in the 1st XV. Martin played his club football for the University of Queensland and from there earned a Queensland debut in 1983 against Fiji’s Western Province.
Unfortunately injures conspired to hamper his national ambitions. In a 1984 pre-Fiji tour trial match against a combined ACT/NSW Country Team he suffered a serious knee injury, missed selection for the Grand Slam tour, and cost him much of the next two years of his of his playing career. Finally, in 1987, Martin made that next step when selected on the Australian tour of South America however he then waited a further 18 months before a Test debut, against the British Lions in Sydney.
During that Lions’ series Martin experienced both the highs and lows of international rugby. On debut he scored a brilliant try as Australia won 30-12. From a second half scrum just metres out from the Lions’ tryline, Nick Farr-Jones scampered across field toward the posts and drew fly half Craig Chalmers with him. Farr-Jones then turned and passed to a flying Martin who cut inside on a slight angle to canter through the gap left by Chalmers and score next to the uprights. However, the series deciding third Test loss was less memorable. In the second half the Lions had the scrum feed some 15 metres from the Australian tryline and to the left of the uprights. From that scrum halfback Robert Jones fed fly half Rob Andrew for an attempted dropped goal. Andrew was pressured by Scott Gourley and the pot missed to the right. David Campese caught the ball deep into the in-goal. Instead of dotting it down he chose to run the ball back. As Martin doubled around his winger toward the left touchline, Campese popped a pass on the goal-line but threw it behind Martin. The ball fell to the ground and Lions winger Ieuan Evans pounced to score the decisive try. Just three years later Martin retired from representative football after he was diagnosed with melanoma.
Greg Martin played nine Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Martin won his first Test cap as the starting fullback in the 1st Test, 30-12 victory over the British Lions in Sydney. He scored his first Try in the second half to become the 67th Wallaby to score a try on debut. He also started in the final two Tests of the Lions’ series, the one-off Test against New Zealand and the two Tests on the tour of France.
Martin was selected at No.15 for the 1st Test against France in Sydney but lost his place to Campese for the 2nd Test in Brisbane. He came off the bench in the 19-25, 3rd Test loss and then played his final match in the 6-21, 1st Test loss to New Zealand at Lancaster Park.