Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dustin Martin: 2017 AFL Brownlow Medal Winner

RICHMOND superstar Dustin Martin has lived up to his unbackable pre-count billing by claiming a record-breaking Brownlow Medal victory at Crown Palladium on Monday night.

Martin, the shortest-priced favourite in history at $1.03, polled a record 36 votes – excluding 1976-77, when two umpires awarded separate votes – to win by 11 from Hawk Tom Mitchell (25) and Sydney's Josh Kennedy (23).

The 26-year-old had a share of the award by round 21 and could not be beaten a round later, when he already had 30 votes to his name.

Martin's 11th set of three votes in the final round saw him break reigning winner Patrick Dangerfield's record haul of 35 votes from last year.

It also gave him the most three-vote performances in Brownlow history, passing the nine best-on-grounds polled by Greg Williams (1994), Nat Fyfe (2015) and Dangerfield (2016).

"It's a pretty surreal position to be in, obviously getting the (Brownlow) Medal and being in a Grand Final, so it's pretty awesome," Martin said.

"Ever since back in the day I knew this (playing in the AFL) was all I ever wanted to do, so I put everything into it and I'm glad it's paying off.

"Every year you learn new things in the game; whether it be better diet or a bit more cross-training or a bit of meditation here and there – finding new things to make you better."

The player who went 2,877 days between Brownlow votes

But Dangerfield's ineligible status was the elephant in the room. His round 19 suspension for a dangerous tackle on Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer spoiled what could have been a spectacular race.

There were murmurs when Dangerfield shot four votes ahead of Martin on the back of 22 votes in an extraordinary eight-game stretch between rounds nine and 17. The champion Cat finished with 33 votes.

"He is a champion, Paddy. I have great respect for him, but it would have been a bit awkward if he beat me … so it's a bit of a relief there's no awkwardness," Martin said.

10 talking points: Dusty opens up, Mark of the Year shock, unloved Cat

Martin's ability to block out the constant discussion about his dominance and, until recently, his out-of-contract status remains part of the fascination about him as a footballer and person.

But the man himself says it's a cinch.

"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," he said.

"I've probably just got to deal with (the attention) and cop it. I don't spend too much time thinking about it – I'm just here to play footy.

"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 this week."

Martin hailed Tigers captain and former housemate Trent Cotchin's impact on his life, as well as his rockstar manager Ralph Carr and coaches Damien Hardwick, Blake Caracella and Andrew McQualter.

Ex-Richmond assistants Wayne Campbell and Mark Williams also scored a mention.

The winning margin, which beat fellow Tiger and dual Brownlow medallist Roy Wright's 10-vote triumph in 1954, gave weight to Hall of Famer Leigh Matthews' claim Martin's was the best individual season ever.

Martin's night began in perfect fashion, receiving maximum votes in Richmond's season opener for his 33 disposals, six clearances, six inside 50s and four goals against Carlton.

But he took an early backseat to fast-starting Crow Rory Sloane, who had 12 votes through six rounds. Sloane managed only eight more.

Martin rocketed into the outright lead for the first time in round 11 with the fifth of his 11 three-vote performances, and from there his greatest opponent was history.

He polled in 14 of his 22 games to break Dangerfield's overall tally of 35 from last year. Dangerfield polled in 15 matches in 2016, relegating Martin to third.

Martin is bidding to be the 14th player to achieve the Brownlow-premiership double in the same season, with the Tigers playing in their first Grand Final in 35 years on Saturday against Adelaide.

The boy from Castlemaine averaged 30.2 disposals, kicked 32 goals and ranked first in the AFL in inside 50s, centre clearances and broken tackles and third in contested possessions.

Martin ended months of speculation when he signed a new seven-year deal, reportedly worth between $1.2 and $1.3 million a season, on finals eve to remain at Punt Rd.

"It was certainly stressful," he said of his contract saga.

"By the end of it, I was sick of everyone talking about it, sick of my ugly face being in the paper every day. Ralph was great to me.

"I pretty much lived at his house towards the end, I'm just glad it got done."

2017 Brownlow Medal top 10

36 - Dustin Martin (Rich)
33 - Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) *
25 - Tom Mitchell (Haw)
23 - Josh Kennedy (Syd)
22 - Lance Franklin (Syd)
21 - Josh Kelly (GWS)
20 - Rory Sloane (Adel)
19 - Marcus Bontempelli (WB)
18 - Ollie Wines (PA)
17 - Dayne Beams (BL)

* ineligible

Dustin Martin's stellar season

Brownlow medallist
AFL Players Association MVP
AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year
Player of the Year: Herald Sun, SEN, 3AW
11 three-vote games (R1 v Carlton, R3 v West Coast, R9 v Greater Western Sydney, R10 v Essendon, R11 v North Melbourne, R15 v Port Adelaide, R17 v Brisbane Lions, R18 v Greater Western Sydney, R19 v Gold Coast, R22 v Fremantle, R23 v St Kilda)
Averaged 30 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six clearances, six inside-50s, four tackles and a goal each game
Set new AFL record for most broken tackles (68) and tied record for most in a single game (seven in round 15 win over Port Adelaide)
Achieved career-high clearances (15 in round three win over West Coast) and inside 50s (12 in round 17 win over Brisbane)
Most inside 50s this season (147 at six per game)
Third-most contested possessions this season (340) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield
Fourth-most disposals this season (715) behind leader Matt Crouch
Fourth-most clearances this season (155) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield.

ISML 2017: A Huge Upset In the Spring Seasonal

ISML 2017: A Huge Upset In the Spring Seasonal
Chtholly Nota Seniorious Wins Spring Diadem, Izumi Sagiri Finishes Third

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
The Bedlam on Baltic Avenue
September 26, 2017

Match Day 6 of the 2017 International Saimoe League Emerald Period is in the books and we have a major upset in the Spring Diadem as Chthlolly Nota Seniorius has won the Spring Diadem in a 2146-1372 rout of Shouko Nishimiya. Izumi Sagiri finished third after a 1790-1133 victory over rival Elf Yamada.

"It is an honor to know that I kept the faith and did my part to secure Willem Kmetsch's happiness," said Chtholly from heaven. "I was told this news from a couple of fallen angels in Yuuki Konno and Inori Yuzuriha who have also been resurrected to be part of the International Saimoe League. The ISML exists to revive those who have been fallen in the name of battle and deeds that millions around the world remember. It is my honor that through Saimoe, my death is actually a beginning to a new existence in the realm of the living. I am back because of those who believed in me. I call on the world to keep my message alive so that I can show those who are in this competition that I am ready to be successfull and make you all proud. This was Willem's wish, and it is now up to me to fulfill it.

"I also salute Shouko Nishimiya and her powerful legacy in reaching out to those who are challenged by the inability to hear, to feel, to think, to see and know. I stand with Shouko today in keeping the faith and keeping hope alive. I look forward to meeting her at the 2018 International Saimoe League. It is my expectation that both of us, Izumi Sagiri and Elf Yamada, will be part of the best competition for men and women of our kind. Let's move forward. This victory is dedicated to you. Thank you."

In the Female Division, Asuna Yuuki slashed past Jibril 2120-1177, Rikka Takanashi rolled past Maki Nishikino 1663-1081, Sora Kasugano defeated Nanami Aoyama 1520-1339, Mashiro Shiina clobbered Aqua 1778-1238, Taiga Aisaka roated past C.C. 1681-1185, Umaru Doma eased past Kuroyukihime 1540-1325, Emilia whipped past Illyasviel von Einzbern 1761-1496 and Yoshino silenced yuki Nagato 1571-1198.

Chiyo Sakura defeated Aoba Suzukaze 1518-1225, Kurumi Tokisaki shot down Ram 1932-1241, Nao Tomori drubbed Shinobu Oshino 1610-1206, Yui Yuigahama hammered Mirai Kuriyama 1458-1286, Megumin exploded past Chino Kafuu 1750-1163, Saber sliced and diced Hifumi Takimoto 1627-1287 and the aformentioned Inori Yuzuriha prevailed over Ayase Aragaki 1415-1315 in a double-win for the deceased-turned-resurrected participants on the competition.

In the Male Division, Korosensei thumped Ryuuji Takasu 1675-1031, Gintoki Sakata routed Osamu Dazai 1524-874, Saika Totsuka prevailed over Sadao Maou 1116-1019, Saitama punched Edward Elric 1348, Takashi Natsume won a 1497-1356 barnburner over Yato. Lancer impaled Bell Cranel 1302-1027, Taki Tachibana hammered Sakamoto and Yuuta Togashi defeated Conan Edogawa.

Roy Mustang won the closest race of the round, a 1181-1167 thriller over Shidou Itsuka, Kazuma Sato defeated Gilgamesh 1428-1171, Felix Argyle dismantled Taihei Doma 1290-1026, Rintarou Okabe dismissed Genos 1404-958, Archer won a 1302-1204 nailbiter over Koyomi Araragi, Shirou Emiya pulverized Shizuo Heiwajima 1432-922 and Tatsuya Shiba won a 1100-1041 classiv over Ryuunosuke Akasaka.

Match Day 7 of the 2017 International Saimoe League Emerald Period is scheduled for September 27, 2017. Vote for your favorite characters at InternationalSaimoe.com and join the ongoing debate.