Superstar Richmond midfielder, Dustin Martin, walked away with AFL’s most coveted award last night, the 2017 Brownlow Medal.
Polling a record-breaking 36 votes and becoming the first player in AFL to be the best on the ground in eleven rounds, it is safe to say, the medal went to a deserving winner.
Geelong midfielder, Patrick Dangerfield, was a close second on vote count, although he was ruled out for the title as he was suspended in round 19 against Carlton for a tackle. This left Tom Mitchell of Hawthorn as the runner-up with 25 votes.
The 26-year-old winner recognised Dangerfield’s efforts for the season in his speech saying, “he is a champion, Paddy. I have great respect for him, but it would have been a bit awkward if he beat me.”
As Dangerfield wasn’t eligible to win, the biggest margin in Brownlow history between first and second place was created as Martin polled eleven more votes than Mitchell in the season.
A shy and nervous Martin took to the stage and delivered a heartfelt speech to his family and friends that have helped him get to where he is in his AFL career today.
Martin thanked his mum and dad, his manager, his coaches and all of the staff at Richmond football club. He then went on to give a touching thank you to his teammates.
“To my teammates, I’m so proud of you all and I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve together. This medal is because of each of you and the connection we have and the support we give each other. I couldn’t think of a better group of guys to go into a grand final with,” he said.
The controversy with Martin’s dad wasn’t ignored last night as Bruce Mcavaney pressed questions about their relationship and how hard it has been to not have him here at this time. Martin spoke briefly about this in his acceptance speech, thanking his dad for everything he had done for him.
“To dad, I know it is tough for you not being here this week, but I know how much you love me and I love you very much. I look forward to coming over in a couple of weeks and celebrating,” he said.
Richmond are set to play in their first grand final since 1982 after winning their preliminary final on Saturday night against Greater Western Sydney by 36 points.
Spirits are high on the Tiger Train and Richmond’s loyal fans are hoping that Dustin Martin’s win is just the beginning to a successful week for the Richmond Football Club as they face the Adelaide Crows on Saturday in the 2017 Grand Final.