Dustin Martin’s father has opened up about having to watch his son’s AFL grand final triumph from New Zealand.
Martin cemented his AFL legacy with another best on field display on Saturday night, claiming an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal as Richmond ran over Geelong by 31 points.
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While Martin was overjoyed with the premiership and another Norm Smith medal, there was a tinge of sadness that his father couldn’t be there to celebrate.
Shane Martin is currently banned from entering Australia after the former bikie boss was deported in 2016 on character grounds.
In February he was sent back to New Zealand after flying to Sydney and being detained by Border Force officials.
So as Martin scorched the Gabba turf on Saturday night, his exiled father watched on television from New Zealand.
“We spoke to him after the game but as usual it's all noisy, you can't hear stuff, but you could hear how excited he was,” Shane Martin told the NZ Herald.
“It's pretty hard to see it on TV when I should be there, really, but that's another story.
“It's still a proud moment but I would have loved to be there, but yeah, you know, it is what it is, don’t want to take the moment away from it.”
Home Affair Minister Peter Dutton defended the decision to ban Mr Martin from the country in February.
“Part of the reason that we kick out people with severe criminal histories, like Mr Martin, is we want to make sure that people don't commit crimes again in our country,” Dutton told the Nine Network.
“We have now cancelled the visas of about 5000 people, many of them involved in outlaw motorcycle gangs, who are the biggest distributors of amphetamines, ice in our country, destroying lives.
“It's a very clear message that if you come to our country as a Kiwi, a US citizen, as citizen of anywhere else in the world and you commit crimes in our country, you can expect to be deported.”
Mr Martin had previously renounced his connection to the Rebels bikie gang and bemoaned his inability to live in Australia.
“They respect what I’m fighting for and vice versa. It sh*ts me that you can't keep in contact with people who have been a big part of your life,” he said.
“I met some really good, respectful people, I don't regret it. It sort of annoys me how people look down on bikies, or clubbies. They do have morals, respect and loyalty.”
Leigh Matthews lauds legendary Dusty
It might just be the ultimate compliment for a man being universally lauded for inspiring Richmond to a third AFL premiership in the space of four years.
Leigh Matthews, officially recognised as the “best player of the 20th century”, says Dusty is the only footballer he isn't “insulted” to be compared to.
“Put it this way: Dusty is the only player, I don't get insulted being compared to,” Matthews told the Sunday Footy Show.
“Because the difference is - he has got the strength and power of a bricklayer and the touch and the deft skills of a surgeon.
“I mean, when you've got both those attributes, you become a prodigious talent.
“And not only that, he performs under pressure - he must have ice in his veins.”
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin said Martin had to learn to “love himself” on his path to becoming an AFL superstar.
“Everybody who speaks about him, particularly in the AFL world, is just in awe of his unique ability to will himself and win games off the back of his own boot,” Cotchin said.
“But I think the thing that I love most about him is the journey that he's been on about really connecting with himself and finding that love for himself.
“I encourage it for everyone to be the case.
“The footy environment can be tough at different stages and the expectation that's put on players, particularly like himself, it can be a lot to deal with.
“But the way that he just shows up and continually just is true to himself is really impressive to watch from afar, but also from right by his side.”
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