Main content

Dusty rockets up the Tiger charts

QF: Dusty dominant in his 200th Watch Dustin Martin highlights from Richmond's qualifying final win over Hawthorn.

Last Thursday, in the lead-up to Richmond’s qualifying final clash with Hawthorn, the Herald Sun newspaper ran an article highlighting where current-day superstar Dustin Martin sat among the best Tiger players of the past half-century.

Five Tiger identities – triple premiership players Barry Richardson and Bryan Wood, 1967 premiership player and 1980 premiership coach Tony Jewell, former president and long-time Yellow and Black fan Leon Daphne, and Club historian Bill Meaklim – were asked to rate their top five Richmond players from the start of the Tommy Hafey-coached golden era in 1966.

Champion centre half-forward Royce Hart came in first, brilliant rover Kevin Bartlett was second, with Dusty in third place.

In early 2016, when esteemed football journalist Mike Sheahan was assigned the task of ranking the top 50 Richmond players of the past 50 years, he had Martin at No. 34.

After watching Dusty’s incredible 2017 season, where he won everything on offer, and his continued impressive form throughout 2018, Sheahan, naturally, significantly readjusted that ranking.

He still, however, didn’t have him quite at the level of Hart and Bartlett . . . until Martin produced his dominant display in the Tigers’ qualifying final victory over Hawthorn last Thursday night.

“I must say, 24 hours ago I thought that was a little premature for Dustin. I couldn’t have Dustin ahead of Kevin Bartlett. But now I’m not sure,” Sheahan said in his regular guest spot on SEN’s breakfast show last Friday.

“It’s a legitimate debate.

“He’s played 200 games, which is more games than Royce Hart. It’s a very good sample size.

“And his performances in big games are outstanding.

“He’s already a Best and Fairest winner in a premiership team and this year, conservatively, he’ll be in the top three.

“That’s good form isn’t it!”