IN A week when dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe cemented his standing as a modern-day great, we should have known Richmond superstar Dustin Martin would respond.
By claiming his second Norm Smith Medal, the Tigers talisman not only enhanced his reputation as the ultimate big-game player, but reminded us the debate about the AFL's best footballer is anything but clear-cut.
Only three other players in VFL/AFL history have been the best afield in two Grand Finals – the last being now-retired champion Luke Hodge for Hawthorn in 2014.
Adelaide's silky star Andrew McLeod (1997, '98) and Hawthorn's five-time premiership player Gary Ayres (1986, '88) are the only other members of that elite club.
Dustin Martin ran the Giants ragged at the MCG. Picture: AFL Photos
In Saturday's Grand Final mauling of the Giants, Martin had the first disposal – a handball and centre clearance – and the biggest say.
When the match was up for grabs, and it wasn't for long, it was the Richmond powerhouse who stamped his authority.
Then, when it was all over, Martin iced the cake, gathering a bouncing ball outside 50m, wheeling onto his trusty right boot and drilling his fourth goal as the Tiger Army rose as one.
He finished with 22 touches, a team-high 12 contested, with eight score involvements and went at an incredible 86.4 per cent disposal efficiency.
Martin, who could have been a Giant after touring the fledgling club's facilities in 2013, has come to embody the new-age Tigers under Damien Hardwick.
Accepting his medal from 2003 winner and Brisbane legend Simon Black, he screamed "yellow and black" as the MCG erupted, and the partying will continue for a long time at Punt Rd.
And with Martin in his pomp at 28, these Tigers are going nowhere.
During the Grand Final parade, Martin dismissed reporters asking how he would handle Matt de Boer, and at the MCG he paid the GWS stopper just as much regard.
He then overwhelmed Heath Shaw and Sam Taylor with his strength and speed inside 50.
As in 2017, when as the Brownlow medallist he completed what Leigh Matthews described as possibly the greatest individual season in history, it was Martin's threat in attack that separated him from the rest.
It's hard to believe in the aftermath of an 89-point humiliation, but Richmond needed a steadier after GWS wrested control in the first term and Jeremy Cameron converted from long range.
After an unaware Lachie Whitfield was ripped to the ground by Kane Lambert, Jack Riewoldt's searching left-foot kick found Martin in space, with Shaw beaten all ends up. The tattooed Tiger bizarrely snapped from 35m out directly in front, but the result was the momentum-changing goal.
By the second quarter he exposed Taylor's inexperience and latched onto a loose ball as his opponent fell to ground and dribbled through his second.
After grabbing Daniel Rioli's clever handball in the pocket and snapping his third while falling to the ground in a Taylor tackle, it was party time, and the 'Dusty' chants had started amongst the Richmond cheer squad.
Martin could have finished with five – but in typically unselfish fashion hit dream debutant Marlion Pickett, who almost completed an unforgettable fairytale by winning the Norm Smith, between the eyes for his maiden goal.
It was the type of team-first football that makes talk of a Tigers dynasty very real.
After breaking a 37-year drought in 2017, Richmond now has two flags in three years. And neither the Tigers, nor Martin, look satisfied yet.
2019 Norm Smith Medal Voting
15 – Dustin Martin, Richmond – 33333
6 – Bachar Houli, Richmond – 222
4 – Marlion Pickett, Richmond – 211
3 – Jack Riewoldt, Richmond – 111
2 – Dion Prestia, Richmond – 2
Alastair Lynch (chairman): 3 Dustin Martin, 2 Bachar Houli, 1 Jack Riewoldt
Chris Johnson: 3 Dustin Martin, 2 Dion Prestia, 1 Jack Riewoldt
Matthew Lloyd: 3 Dustin Martin, 2 Bachar Houli, 1 Marlion Pickett
Bruce McAvaney: 3 Dustin Martin, 2 Bachar Houli, 1 Marlion Pickett
Angela Pippos: 3 Dustin Martin, 2 Marlion Pickett, 1 Jack Riewoldt