Sports star win for Dusty

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 19-Oct-2017

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THERE was hardly anything Dustin Martin didn’t win in September, so of course it was only natural the Richmond champion added a Cloud Copy Click Sports Star of the Year award to his ever-growing trophy cabinet.

As Richmond stormed to a surprise AFL flag that set long-suffering Tigers fans into a frenzy, Martin established himself as the competition’s best player.

Martin’s honour roll during September goes as follows and makes for astonishing reading: Premiership, Norm Smith medal, Brownlow Medal, Gary Ayres Medal (best player in finals), Leigh Matthews Trophy (AFL Players Association MVP), AFL Coaches Association MVP, All-Australian and Richmond best and fairest.

If that wasn’t enough, he led the AFL for inside-50s, centre clearances and score involvements, ranked second for contested possessions and metres gained and third for disposals and goal assists.

The softly-spoken star looks more at home on the football field than many, and says he feels it too.

“The two hours when you play footy is freedom. You don’t have to worry about everything else, you just go out there and play footy and that’s what I love doing,” he said after Richmond’s grand final triumph over Adelaide.

His home town of Castlemaine was abuzz during grand final week, with celebrations of his Brownlow win at his junior club Campbells Creek and at Camp Reserve, where he played seniors with Castlemaine before heading to the Bendigo Pioneers.

He paid tribute to all those who helped him from his time at the Magpies, through the TAC Cup and now as a premiership-winning Tiger.

“I’ve got so many important people in my life that have helped me get here, it’s too long to reel them all off because I’ll forget and leave people out,” he said.

“I’m just lucky to have a lot of people who have supported me, a lot of people like (Tigers coach Damian Hardwick), a lot of people at the club, family, friends, I’m very grateful.”

His performance all year earned plaudits from Hardwick, but no more than on grand final day.

“He was incredible wasn’t he? He’s just so hard to stop. Through the middle he’s just so powerful then he goes up forward and he controls the contest up there,” Hardwick said.

“He’s just a pleasure to coach really. What’s he’s added to his game this year is an understanding of where he’s required at different times.

Whether we need a goal, whether we need him in the middle and he really dictates that.

“I’m just so pleased as a football player this year.”

When Martin was asked how he could top the Norm Smith and premiership double, his reply was both simple and rather apt:“I don’t think you can.”

Martin joins mountain biker Tasman Nankervis, high jumper Joseph Baldwin, America’s Cup winner Glenn Ashby, basketball star Kelsey Griffin, cyclist Jack Haig and distance runner Andy Buchanan as nominees for the 2017/18 award.

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