Dustin Martin Deals With The AFL Brownlow Spotlight
Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin just wants his football to do the talking.
Winning the AFL's highest individual honour thrust the Richmond star uncomfortably into the public spotlight on Monday night.
One of the game's most dynamic players is also a shy, enigmatic man who is no fan of the media.
Martin politely answered questions at the on-stage presentation and the media conference that followed, but they could not have finished quickly enough for him.
Indeed, once the media conference was over, Martin was walking out of the room and an AFL official had to bring him back for photographs.
Photographers asked him to kiss the medal, but there was no way that was happening.
"I have to deal with it, so I just cop it and don't spend too much time thinking about it. I'm just here to play footy," he said of the public attention.
"As soon as I get into the footy club and out there on the 'G, all I'm thinking about is footy - the rest is just noise."
At the end of his media conference, Martin was asked if winning the medal might change his thoughts on being in the public spotlight.
"Nah, I don't think so," he said bluntly.
After one of the greatest individual seasons in AFL history, Martin won with 36 votes - beating Patrick Dangerfield's record total last year by one.
Dangerfield, who was ineligible because of suspension, led for much of the count.
But Martin saved the AFL and himself any awkwardness by overhauling him in the last few rounds.
Dangerfield finished on 33 - the first player to poll 30-plus in successive seasons - and Hawthorn's Tom Mitchell was third on 25.
"It could have been a bit awkward, so it's just a bit of a relief - no awkwardness," Martin said of polling more than Dangerfield.
Now Martin will prepare for Saturday's grand final against Adelaide.
No player has won the Brownlow and the Norm Smith Medal as the grand final's best player in the same season - Martin will go close.
He has thrived this year despite months of intense speculation about his playing future, which ended a few weeks ago when Martin signed a monster seven-year deal with the Tigers.
"It's a pretty surreal position to be in, obviously getting the medal and being in a grand final - it's really awesome," he said.
"Ever since back in the day, this is all I've ever wanted to do, so I put everything into it and I'm glad it's paid off.
"I'm just finding a good balance of things - every year, you learn new things in the game, whether it be a better diet or a bit more cross training, a bit of meditation here and there.
"It will just be business as usual tomorrow when I get into the club and for the rest of the week ... hopefully we can celebrate with a premiership."