Superstar Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin has continued his triumphant march through the awards season after being named the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player.
Fresh from leading the Tigers into a preliminary final after picking up 28 disposals, nine inside 50s and six broken tackles against Geelong last Friday at the MCG, Martin finished well ahead of reigning winner Patrick Dangerfield.
Martin tallied 1333 votes, more than 500 ahead of Dangerfield on 776. Out-of-contract Greater Western Sydney gun Josh Kelly rounded out the top three with 416.
Adelaide star Rory Sloane was fourth on 267 while the Coleman medallist, Sydney’s Lance Franklin, had 215 votes.
Dangerfield tallied 1369 when he won the MVP last year, while Fremantle jet Nat Fyfe picked up 1455 in 2015.
Martin was presented the Leigh Matthews Trophy at a function in Melbourne’s Docklands on Tuesday night.
He credited meditation for what has been a stressful year, after going through much of the campaign under plenty of scrutiny with his future yet to be confirmed.
Martin has since signed a multi-million dollar contract for seven years.
“It has been pretty stressful, although I might not show it. I’m glad all that stuff’s out of the way and I’m just excited for the next couple of weeks,” Martin said.
With the Tigers in a preliminary final where they will face the winner of Friday night’s Geelong and Sydney clash, Martin was feeling the enthusiasm from supporters.
“Richmond’s rocking. You drive down the street today, there was black and yellow everywhere. It’s great,” Martin said.
Not being a huge football watcher, Martin might not watch the whole contest, but he confessed to a little bit of interest.
“I don’t watch too much football but I’m sure I will at some stage. I might watch a quarter,” Martin said.
Not that the opposition concerns Dusty.
“We’ll take on whoever,” he said.
Martin played every match in the home and away season and averaged 30 disposals while booting 32 goals.
Dangerfield had another superb campaign, missing just one match for the home and away season and averaging 30 disposals while slotting 38 goals.
The MVP is voted for in two stages, with each player nominating three teammates to take out the award to create a list of 54 nominees. Every player then votes for their 3-2-1, with voting for teammates not allowed.
Sloane didn’t leave the night empty-handed after being considered the League’s most courageous player ahead of Geelong skipper Joel Selwood and Greater Western Sydney hard nut Callan Ward.
Adelaide forward Taylor Walker was named the best captain, in front of Sydney midfielder Josh Kennedy and Selwood in third.