It wasn't an easy transition, but Jack Martin is a Carlton player at last after the Blues landed the former Gold Coast midfielder at the AFL pre-season draft.
The Suns had threatened to use their first pick to keep the out-of-contract 24-year-old against his wishes, but conceded defeat on Thursday night when they gave up that selection by filling their list quota at the national draft.
Martin said he was both excited and relieved to finally have his future with Carlton confirmed.
"There's a sense of excitement, happiness, and relief at the same time as it's been a long time coming," Martin said on Friday.
He felt that the switch to the Blues would help him finally realise his huge potential after some inconsistent form since making his debut in 2014.
"I think I'm ready - I want to come to Melbourne and prove myself and I'm ready for the challenges ahead," he said.
"I'm ready to come and make an impact and give everything to the Carlton football club."
The move ends a turbulent period for Martin, who informed Gold Coast of his desire to leave after 97 games but was unable to find his way to Princes Park via the trade period.
Blues list boss Stephen Silvagni knocked back a trade with the Suns, also involving a swap of first-round picks, safe in the knowledge that he would most likely secure Martin without giving up any draft picks at the pre-season draft.
"Jack has tremendous talent but more importantly a determination to make the most of that talent," Silvagni said.
"He will strengthen our forward line and also has the ability to play through the midfield and down back which will be a real asset for us."
Adding the talented but injury-prone forward-midfielder is set to be Silvagni's going away gift to the Blues, who are reported to be on the verge of parting ways with the respected list manager and club great.
Hawthorn were the only other club to participate in the pre-season draft, the Hawks securing former Essendon defender Michael Hartley.
Gold Coast used the first pick at the rookie draft to welcome back Josh Schoenfeld, who they delisted last month.
Just 14 players new to the AFL system were added to club lists at the rookie selection meeting, with clubs intent on bringing back their own delisted players or offering lifelines to those cut elsewhere.
Adelaide used their only two picks on former Brisbane midfielder Ben Keays and ex-Collingwood forward Ben Crocker, while Essendon picked up former North Melbourne on-baller Mitch Hibberd.
Geelong welcomed back Oscar Brownless and Lachie Henderson, GWS re-drafted Tommy Sheridan, Jake Stein and Zach Sproule and West Coast brought back Brendon Ah Chee and Hamish Brayshaw.
After securing Jackson Mead, son of Darren, in the second round of the national draft, Port Adelaide added Trent Burgoyne, Peter's boy, as a rookie.
Experienced players looking to continue their careers, like Harley Bennell, Daniel Menzel, Sam Murray and Jacob Townsend, were among those to go undrafted.
But they can still train with prospective clubs over summer and be signed via the supplementary selection period.
Australian Associated Press