By Tyler Lewis
Any player that has flowed through the Dandenong Stingrays system knows of Frank Martinez.
He is Rays royalty.
Martinez – who was originally a boundary umpire – went down to watch the Stingrays play one day, before leaving the ground with a role at the club.
“I started 21 years ago, I have done a bit of everything,” he said.
“I’ve done a bit of fitness, bit of one on one with players, doing extra work with them in the off season.
“Not so much lately, but I did that for 16 or 17 years.
“Working with your Adam Treloar’s, Luke Parker’s and all of them. I worked with them on their fitness, making sure they do the right thing.
“Quite a few other players too, Zak Jones and Neville Jetta were some of the last players I did some work with.
“At the moment I am the property manager and assist with whatever else has to be done,” Martinez said.
As a volunteer providing the club with elite level services, the club favourite known as Frankie, could apply his trade elsewhere for some more personal gain, but like all good volunteers, Frankie loves the club out of Shepley Oval deeply.
In addition to his work on the field, Martinez offers a brilliant life mantra that can be carried off the field too.
“I love working with the kids, developing them to go to the next level,” he said.
“I know some kids are never going to get to AFL, but to me if we help the kid become a better person, I think we have done our job.
“That is the way I look at it, a lot of kids succeed in VFL, EFL (Eastern Football League), Southern League, Mornington Peninsula.
“I get great satisfaction in watching them grow up and do what they want to do.
“My philosophy is if you can’t get to the top of the mountain, at least you tried.”
Over the years, Martinez has worked with many great players, a number of top-10 selections, but he has a couple that are his favourites. However, none quite top a hard-working Western Bulldog as ‘Frankie’s’ favourite.
“Adam Treloar because whenever I worked with him, he never questioned why,” he said.
“Why do this, why do that, he never asked questions on why I asked him to do it.”
Martinez has upped his duties at the Rays in recent times, working closely with the girl’s sides; as for his favourite players, the current Dandenong class have some work to do to make up the ground on Treloar.