Star Richmond Tigers midfielder Dustin Martin has won this year’s Brownlow Medal with a record 36 votes.
Martin, who signed a record $8.75 million deal with Richmond this year and has helped the Tigers to their first Grand Final in 35 years, secured the highest number of umpire votes for best on field in the medal’s history.
He outpolled last year’s winner Patrick Dangerfield, who was ineligible because of a suspension in round 19. Dangerfield draped the medal around Martin’s neck at the end of the night, as is tradition.
Dangerfield received a record 35 votes last year to win the medal, and this year got 33 despite being out of the running. It makes Dangerfield the first player to poll more than 30 votes in two different years — making Martin’s feat all that more remarkable.
“It would’ve been a bit awkward if (Dangerfield) beat me. It’s a bit of a relief, there’s no awkwardness,” Martin said.
Martin’s epic season, in which he has played every game and kicked 32 goals, is a remarkable turnaround for the midfielder who in years past struggled with attitude and team commitment.
“I was just a young bloke who liked to play up every now and then and I’m sure [his manager] Ralph and my old man were sick of it and the club too, probably,” Martin said in his acceptance speech. “So they sat me down and told me to pull my head in or they won’t help me any more. Ever since then I think I’ve pulled my head in a little bit.”
Martin thanked his team-mates who will join him in trying to win the Tigers’ first premiership in 37 years this weekend.
“I’m so proud of you all and I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve together,” he said. “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. We have worked hard all year for this moment, and I’m excited for what we are about to do.”
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