The 'pretty amazing' truth behind Dustin Martin's $11 million sacrifice

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Dustin Martin flexes his muscles after winning a third Norm Smith Medal.
Dustin Martin became the first man in history to win three Norm Smith Medals. Pic: AAP

Dustin Martin has been instrumental in the Richmond Tigers establishing themselves as one of the greatest teams the AFL has seen.

The Tigers spearhead is being celebrated as arguably the greatest player of all time after capturing an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal, in Richmond's stunning grand final win over Geelong.

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Even the legendary Leigh Matthews - officially recognised as the "best player of the 20th century" - says Dusty is the one player he doesn't mind being compared to.

Martin helped this current Richmond side cement their dynasty status, with a third AFL flag in four years.

However, things could have been very different the 29-year-old chased the big bucks being thrown at him at the end of the 2017 season.

Martin had claimed almost every individual honour there was, as well as his first flag and Norm Smith Medal in one of the most dominant seasons in memory.

Unsurprisingly, it led to him being sought out by rival clubs, with Martin's manager Ralph Carr revealing that North Melbourne wanted him on a seven-year deal worth $11 million.

The Adelaide Crows - who Richmond had just beaten in the 2017 decider - then matched the offer, prompting Martin to give serious consideration to making the switch.

Martin shunned huge offer to stay with Tigers

“They matched that offer. (Crows football director) Mark Ricciuto came down to see me and they matched that offer. Then we took less than that to stay at Richmond, which I had to talk Dusty into.

“I gave him the equation of what we could make outside of football, which I thought was a lot better and I thought Richmond were a better club and better equipped to take him to where he wanted to go.

Dusty’s manager said an incredible gesture of adoration from Tigers fans for their champion player, helped convince him that Richmond was his home.

“The last game was against St Kilda (before re-signing) and he got a standing ovation and I think after that game we met for dinner, which we normally do, and he said, ‘I think you’re right about staying’.

“He got this huge standing ovation which was pretty amazing.”

Dustin Martin is seen here celebrating a grand final win with fans.
Dusty is beloved by Richmond Tigers fans. Pic: Getty

The Crows had lost superstar Patrick Dangerfield to Geelong and Ricciuto says Adelaide made the biggest offer in the club's history to try and prise Martin away from Richmond.

“The lengths we were prepared to go to, I actually got my passport changed to go and see his old man in New Zealand,” Ricciuto said.

“I don’t know what it was going to achieve but I was going to show him and his old man that that’s how serious we were.”

Despite giving the move plenty of consideration, Martin turned down the big bucks and opted to stay with the Tigers.

The rest they say, is history.

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