Richmond star midfielder Dustin Martin has been rewarded for his outstanding 2017 season with the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player award.
Martin claimed the Leigh Matthews Trophy with 1333 votes, ahead of last year’s winner, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield (776 votes) and GWS young gun Josh Kelly (416 votes).
Rounding out the top five was Adelaide Crows midfielder Rory Sloane (267 votes) and Sydney Swans star forward Lance Franklin (215 votes).
Martin accepted the trophy from Leigh Matthews in front of more than 450 people at the 36th AFL Players’ MVP Awards at Melbourne’s Peninsula at Docklands.
“It’s an honour to be named MVP by the guys I play with, and against every week. I’m incredibly humbled by this,” Martin said.
AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh praised Martin’s individual performances across the season, in which he has played a pivotal role in his team’s top four finish and first finals win in more than 15 years.
“In a year where Dusty has dealt with a lot of off-field noise, he’s managed to not only block it out, but take his game to another level, wowing us all with his power, skill and poise under pressure,” he said.
“Dusty has performed at an incredibly high standard week-in-week-out this season and being named the most valuable player by his peers will no doubt be one of many awards he receives for his exceptional year.”
Martin’s consistency throughout the season was underlined by the fact that he was nominated for the AFL Players’ MVP of the Month award in every voting period.
In other Richmond news from the night, small forward Daniel Rioli was named on the interchange bench in the 2017 22Under22 team, which honours some of the game’s most exciting young talent.
Winners and top polling players
1) Dustin Martin – 1333 votes
2) Patrick Dangerfield – 776 votes
3) Josh Kelly – 416 votes
4) Rory Sloane – 267 votes
5) Lance Franklin – 215 votes
Source: Richmond FC