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Can anyone beat Dusty for the AFLPA MVP?

Jennifer Phelan, AFL Media  September 12, 2017 3:08 PM

AFL 2017 Round 23 - Richmond v St Kilda

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Dustin Martin of the Tigers runs with the ball during the round 23 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 27, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images/AFL Media)

Is this the year Dustin Martin celebrates September with a clean sweep of the awards season, adding the AFLPA Most Valuable Player award to his AFLCA champion gong

Martin, the un-backable favourite for the Brownlow Medal and last week's winner – with a record 122 votes – of the coaches' association top prize, is poised to take out the players' association award on Tuesday night at Peninsula in Docklands. 

Named the Leigh Matthew Trophy after its inaugural winner in 1982, the MVP is arguably held in the highest esteem by the players as the winner is determined by his peers. 

While Martin, whose incredible year has helped secure Richmond as a genuine flag contender, is a likely first-time winner, Geelong powerhouse and defending MVP Patrick Dangerfield looms as his biggest contender.

However, retired St Kilda forward and 2004 winner Nick Riewoldt went against the grain and voted for Coleman Medal recipient Lance Franklin, with a desire to see a key position player win over a midfielder.  

"I voted for 'Buddy', actually," Riewoldt told SEN on Tuesday morning.

"As far as most valuable I thought 'Dusty' and 'Danger' statistically have probably had better years, but I just think for value to the team and importance for the team, Lance Franklin's still the best player in the comp. 

"I think the way he's able to carry that side up there at times … he's just an incredible talent.

"It is nice to shake it up a bit, we know the midfielders generally have a monopoly and a mortgage on all of those type of awards." 

Martin was the AFLPA's MVP of the month in both June and July this season, with Rory Sloane (March/April), Josh Kelly (May) and Lance Franklin (August) also acknowledged. 

When pitting them head to head, Martin has played every game this season to Dangerfield's 22, and averaged 30.2 disposals to 30.3 a game.

Dangerfield was the raging favourite for back-to-back Brownlows before his round 19 one-week suspension for a controversial tackle on Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer.

While Martin remains an easy favourite with Dangerfield ineligible, a victory on Tuesday won't necessarily ensure he'll poll the most votes on Brownlow night.

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In the last two years, the MVP has gone on to win the League's best and fairest prize – Dangerfield last year, and Nat Fyfe in 2015.

But on four other occasions since 2010, the winners of the two awards have been different.

The nomination process for the MVP award is two-stage, with players first selecting three of their teammates for the award. 

Then, three nominees from all of the 18 clubs are presented to the League's entire player group, who vote on an overall winner. 

They cannot vote for a teammate during the second stage of the process. 

There were some surprise nominations, with Collingwood putting up Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom along with Jeremy Howe. 

Howe and midfielder Adam Treloar were the Pies' only Virgin Australia AFL All Australian squad members this season. 

Melbourne also went in a different direction to the AA squad of 40, with Clayton Oliver getting the nod over Jeff Garlett.  

And, Adelaide's players chose Matt Crouch, Rory Laird and Rory Sloane from a bevy of strong contributors, with the Crows' nominees three of their eight All Australian squad members. 

Tuesday night's function will also recognise the most courageous player, best first year player, best captain and the best 22 under the age of 22 team, among other awards. 

2017 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER NOMINEES 

ADELAIDE
Matt Crouch, Rory Laird, Rory Sloane 

BRISBANE LIONS
Dayne Beams, Tom Rockliff, Dayne Zorko 

CARLTON
Sam Docherty, Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy 

COLLINGWOOD
Jeremy Howe, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom 

ESSENDON
Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley, Zach Merrett 

FREMANTLE
Nat Fyfe, Bradley, Hill, Lachie Neale 

GEELONG
Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan 

GOLD COAST
Gary Ablett, Jarryd Lyons, Jarrod Witts 

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel 

HAWTHORN
Shaun Burgoyne, Ben McEvoy, Tom Mitchell 

MELBOURNE
Michael Hibberd, Clayton Oliver, Neville Jetta 

NORTH MELBOURNE
Ben Brown, Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins 

PORT ADELAIDE
Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas, Paddy Ryder 

RICHMOND
Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Alex Rance 

ST KILDA
Jake Carlisle, Dylan Roberton, Sebastian Ross 

SYDNEY 
Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker 

WEST COAST
Josh Kennedy, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo 

WESTERN BULLDOGS
Marcus Bontempelli, Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Macrae