Martin storms home to be crowned Players’ Player

Martin storms home to be crowned Players’ Player

By Vittorio Travan

Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin has been recognised for his stellar 2017 season, being named as the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player.

Martin finished more than 500 votes ahead of 2016 winner Patrick Dangerfield, while Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly finished third.

Martin polled 1333 votes following the two tiered voting system. During the first round each player votes for three teammates who have been the most valuable during the season. In the second round all players vote on a 3-2-1 basis from the nominees of the other 17 clubs.

Fresh off signing a seven year contract with Richmond worth millions of dollars, Martin is now the favourite to take out the Brownlow Medal following a dominant year in the midfield.

However, the midfielder said he was uncomfortable with all the attention he received this season.

“I’m not a massive fan of the attention, but it is what it is. I’ve just got to deal with it,” he said.

After being presented with the Leigh Matthews trophy for the AFLPA’s MVP, Martin said,

“It’s an honour to be named MVP by the guys I play with, and against every week. I’m incredibly humbled by this.”

Averaging 30 disposals per game and kicking 32 goals through the season, Martin also regularly contributed with perfect distribution from the midfield. He went on to average almost 4 tackles a game, 6.4 inside 50’s and 6.5 clearances in a breakout season that helped secure a top three finish for his side for the first time in 12 years.

The night also saw Adelaide’s Rory Sloane finish ahead of Joel Selwood and Callan Ward as the league’s most courageous player.

Adealiade Crow’s captain Taylor Walker, for the second season in a row, was named as captain of the year ahead of Swan’s captain Josh Kennedy and Geelong’s Joel Selwood.

The league also announced a new fan initiative that saw the fan’s vote for the best team of players all aged under 22 years old. Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli was named captain of the side while Essendon’s star defender Andrew McGrath was also announced in the team’s backline.  Andrew McGrath was also honoured for his breakout first year in the Essendon backline after being named as the league’s best first year player and also being included in the team of best players under 22 years old.

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