It's been quite a year for Dustin Martin; the 26-year-old just won the 2017 Brownlow Medal and became the sixth Richmond player ever to do so.
Richmond will play its first grand final in 35 years, thanks largely to Martin. He agonised over a new contract before signing with the Tigers for another seven years. There was a kerfuffle over his NZ-based dad being denied an Aussie visa over his bikie connections.
And now he's won a Brownlow, after being the shortest-priced favourite in memory.
"I look forward to coming over [to New Zealand] in a few weeks and celebrating," he said to his dad after winning.
Martin won with a total of 36 points. There were fears that reigning Brownlow champ Patrick Dangerfield would poll the most votes for the second year running, which would have taken a little gloss off Martin's win. (Dangerfield was ineligible after being suspended for what most considered a pretty soft incident.)
But Martin won by three, overhauling Dangerfield in the final few rounds. The end result reflected what pretty much every footy fan in Australia saw too. He really was the most exciting player out there all season.
"Usually I would have had half a dozen beers by now," Martin had told Bruce McAvaney halfway through the ceremony.
An hour later, up on stage receiving his medal, he looked like he could use at least one, as he went on to say he was not a big fan of media or talking in front of people.
"It's been a good couple of weeks playing finals and stuff. It's been very surreal but I'm enjoying it," was about the most he managed to say.
He also, after heavy questioning from MC Bruce McAvaney, explained that he left school aged 14 and "worked in shitty jobs after that".
"But here I am today," he said.
Martin's other good moment was when he said his dad "means the world to me". He also saved a kind word for Dangerfield.
"He's a great champion Patty, I've got respect for him, but [if he had won] it would have been awkward."
It would indeed. Almost as awkward as Martin looked on stage. But he'll look a lot less awkward on Saturday at the MCG. That's the big stage where he really thrives. A small stage in front of bright TV lights, not so much.Suggest a correction