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Players pick Dusty as their No. 1

Dinny Navaratnam, AFL Media  September 13, 2017 1:35 PM

AFL 2017 Media - 2017 MVP Awards

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Dustin Martin of the Tigers wins AFL Players' MVP Awards at Shed 14 Central Pier on September 12, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Superstar Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin has continued his triumphant march through the awards season after being named the AFL Players' Association Most Valuable Player.

Fresh from leading the Tigers into a preliminary final after picking up 28 disposals, nine inside 50s and six broken tackles against Geelong last Friday at the MCG, Martin finished well ahead of reigning winner Patrick Dangerfield. 

Martin tallied 1333 votes, more than 500 ahead of Dangerfield on 776. Out-of-contract Greater Western Sydney gun Josh Kelly rounded out the top three with 416.

Adelaide star Rory Sloane was fourth on 267 while the Coleman medallist, Sydney's Lance Franklin, had 215 votes.

Dangerfield tallied 1369 when he won the MVP last year, while Fremantle jet Nat Fyfe picked up 1455 in 2015.

Martin was presented the Leigh Matthews Trophy at a function in Melbourne's Docklands on Tuesday night.

He credited meditation for what has been a stressful year, after going through much of the campaign under plenty of scrutiny with his future yet to be confirmed.

Martin has since signed a multi-million dollar contract for seven years.

"It has been pretty stressful, although I might not show it. I'm glad all that stuff's out of the way and I'm just excited for the next couple of weeks," Martin said.

With the Tigers in a preliminary final where they will face the winner of Friday night's Geelong and Sydney clash, Martin was feeling the enthusiasm from supporters. 

"Richmond's rocking. You drive down the street today, there was black and yellow everywhere. It's great," Martin said.

Not being a huge football watcher, Martin might not watch the whole contest, but he confessed to a little bit of interest.  

"I don't watch too much football but I'm sure I will at some stage. I might watch a quarter," Martin said.

Not that the opposition concerns Dusty.

"We'll take on whoever," he said.

Leigh Matthews and Dustin Martin at the AFLPA MVP awards. Picture: AFL Photos / Getty Images
dusty-lethal-620.jpg

Martin played every match in the home and away season and averaged 30 disposals while booting 32 goals. 

Dangerfield had another superb campaign, missing just one match for the home and away season and averaging 30 disposals while slotting 38 goals.

The MVP is voted for in two stages, with each player nominating three teammates to take out the award to create a list of 54 nominees. Every player then votes for their 3-2-1, with voting for teammates not allowed.

Sloane didn't leave the night empty-handed after being considered the League's most courageous player ahead of Geelong skipper Joel Selwood and Greater Western Sydney hard nut Callan Ward. 

Adelaide forward Taylor Walker was named the best captain, in front of Sydney midfielder Josh Kennedy and Selwood in third.

Adelaide stars Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane enjoing the night. Picture: Getty Images

Essendon defender Andrew McGrath backed up his NAB AFL Rising Star by winning the best first-year player award, with Port Adelaide brute Sam Powell-Pepper and Carlton dynamo Sam Petrevski-Seton rounding out the top three.

Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli was named the captain of the best 22 players under 22-years-old - a team voted on by fans. Bombers midfield jet Zach Merrett was the team's vice-captain. Bontempelli is the first player to be selected in the team four times.

Zach Merrett and 'The Bont' with their 22under22 caps. Picture: Getty Images


AFLPA MVP results

Most Valuable Player - Leigh Matthews Trophy
1. Dustin Martin (Rich) – 1333 votes
2. Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) – 776
3. Josh Kelly (GWS) – 416
4. Rory Sloane (Adel) – 267
5. Lance Franklin (Syd) – 215 

Most Courageous
1. Rory Sloane (Adel) – 188 votes
2. Joel Selwood (Geel) – 133
3. Callan Ward (GWS) – 89
4. Luke Hodge (Haw) – 77
5. Dale Morris (WB) – 71

Best First-Year Player
1. Andrew McGrath (Ess) – 274 votes
2. Sam Powell-Pepper (PA) – 250
3. Sam Petrevski-Seton (Carl) – 48
4. Will Hayward (Syd) – 35
5. Tom Stewart (Geel) – 25

Best Captain
1. Taylor Walker (Adel) – 140 votes
2. Josh Kennedy (Syd) – 125
3. Joel Selwood (Geel) – 100
4. Jarryd Roughead (Haw) – 87
5. Robert Murphy (WB) – 46

22under22 Team
B: Andrew McGrath (Ess). Harris Andrews (Bris). Callum Mills (Syd)
HB: Jayden Hunt (Mel). Jake Lever (Adel). Ryan Burton (Haw)
C: Marcus Bontempelli (WB). Clayton Oliver (Mel). Josh Kelly (GWS)
HF: Jack Billing (St K). Charlie Curnow (Carl). Jack Martin (GC)
F: Orazio Fantasia (Ess). Eric Hipwood (Bris). Tom Papley (Syd)
FOLL: Peter Wright (GC), Zach Merrett (Ess). Matt Crouch (Adel)
I/C: James Sicily (Haw), Isaac Heeney (Syd), Ollie Wines (PA), Daniel Rioli (Rich)