TIGERS ROAR

Grand Fi­nal and Brown­low pre­view

The Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - CASSIE ZER­VOS LISA THOMAS

HE’S the Brown­low medal favourite who yes­ter­day led Rich­mond to their first AFL grand fi­nal since 1982, but Dustin Martin has be­come just as well known for his body art as his elec­tric skills.

And if the Tigers roar their way to a drought-break­ing win next Satur­day against the Ade­laide Crows, Martin said he will add to his im­pres­sive col­lec­tion with a pre­mier­ship tat­too.

It is es­ti­mated the AFL’s big­gest su­per­star has spent 100 hours and more than $15,000 ink­ing his body, but be­hind each tat­too is a per­sonal story.

The 26-year-old, drafted in 2009, was start­ing to make his mark with Rich­mond when he de­cided to get neck tat­toos mir­ror­ing those of his fa­ther, Shane.

“It is just (about) my fam­ily her­itage, so it means a lot to me,” Martin told The Footy

Show in footage that did not go to air in Au­gust.

He has tat­toos of the Maori words Ngati Maru, which refers to his fam­ily’s North Is­land tribe, and Matai Whetu, which refers to a meet­ing place.

“Ob­vi­ously, my dad is from New Zealand. Tat­toos are blood­lines from my dad’s great-grand­mother’s tribe and the other side is like a fam­ily

gath­er­ing place.

“When you are young, you don’t think too much be­fore you go and do it, but I don’t re­gret it.”

When Martin was drafted, he and his dad got match­ing Live Free Die Free tat­toos across their tor­sos.

“It is just kind of a say­ing that we came up with to­gether,” Martin said.

“He’s been a great sup­port, as has all my fam­ily. They have been a big part of get­ting me here.”

Yes­ter­day, hun­dreds of deliri­ous Rich­mond fans packed the Odin Tav­ern at Bal­catta to wit­ness their he­roes make his­tory by down­ing GWS Gi­ants in the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

“We have mem­bers who have never seen their team play in a grand fi­nal,” group pres­i­dent Rachel Kemp said.

Ms Kemp said as a club mem­ber she had a guar­an­teed ticket to Satur­day’s Grand Fi­nal and would be book­ing her flights to Mel­bourne. “I wouldn’t miss it,” she said. If Martin wins the Brown­low to­mor­row night, his fa­ther will not be there to cel­e­brate with him.

Shane, a for­mer high­rank­ing of­fi­cial in the Rebels mo­tor­cy­cle gang, was de­ported to New Zealand last year af­ter Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton said he failed to meet the min­i­mum char­ac­ter re­quire­ments to re­main in Aus­tralia.

Mr Dut­ton said at the time the Gov­ern­ment was at war with out­law mo­tor­cy­cle gangs for deal­ing drugs.

Martin pleaded for his dad to be al­lowed back in the coun­try.

Pic­ture: Getty

Pumped: Dustin Martin cel­e­brat­ing yes­ter­day at the MCG.

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