Dustin Martin continues to rack up AFL honours in a tumultuous year, winning his first best and fairest award at Richmond.
A week after also making the All-Australian team for the first time, Martin beat last year’s winner Alex Rance by one vote on Thursday night to win the Jack Dyer Medal.
Martin has enjoyed his best season and is a Brownlow Medal contender behind strong favourite Patrick Dangerfield.
But it has been tough off the field for the star Tigers midfielder.
Last December, Martin was accused of threatening a woman with a chopstick in a Melbourne restaurant.
The Victorian Police and the AFL decided not to take any action.
Martin apologised and the Tigers handed him a $5000 fine for being drunk in public.
Also this year, Martin’s father Shane was deported to New Zealand for links to the Rebels motorcycle gang.
Richmond have given Martin time off during the season so he could visit his father.
Martin, who rarely speaks in public, thanked the Tigers for their support after winning the Jack Dyer award.
“I will keep this short and sweet, because you know I don’t like to talk too much,” Martin said.
“I’d like to thank Peggy (O’Neal), the board and Brendon (Gale) for sticking by me.
“I’m very blessed to have so many great people in my life and I’m very grateful for it.”
Martin also thanked assistant coaches Mark Williams, Greg Mellor and Ross Smith, who have all left Richmond.
“‘Choco’ (Mark Williams), as every year, you’ve helped take my game to another level and I’m going to miss you around the club,” Martin said.
Also on Thursday night, coach Damien Hardwick strongly backed the current board as it faces a challenge from the Focus on Football group.
Club president Peggy O’Neal said it was vital that the Tigers stick together.
O’Neal added that the club would release the findings of their football department review “very shortly”.