Grand Final and Brownlow preview
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
“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.
Pumped: Dustin Martin celebrating yesterday at the MCG.