As expected, the 2017 Brownlow Medal was a one-horse race with Richmond Tigers superstar Dustin Martin taking out the AFL’s most prestigious individual honour by an unprecedented 11-vote margin with a record 36 votes.
Martin’s tally eclipsed the 35 votes accumulated in 2016 by Patrick Dangerfield, whose late-season suspension ruled him ineligible this year and removed virtually any doubt of ‘Dusty’ – the $1.03 favourite – carrying off the gong.
Dangerfield polled 33 votes to come an unofficial second. Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell was the official runner-up with 25 votes, with Sydney’s Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin, and GWS’s Josh Kelly rounding out the top five.
Martin, who will spearhead the Tigers’ Grand Final assault against the Adelaide Crows on Saturday, also set another record with 11 sets of three votes.
“It’s a pretty surreal position to be in, obviously getting the (Brownlow) Medal and being in a Grand Final, so it’s pretty awesome,” Martin said.
“Ever since back in the day I knew this (playing in the AFL) was all I ever wanted to do, so I put everything into it and I’m glad it’s paying off.
“Every year you learn new things in the game; whether it be better diet or a bit more cross-training or a bit of meditation here and there – finding new things to make you better.”
2017 Brownlow Medal top 10
36 – Dustin Martin (Rich)
33 – Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) *
25 – Tom Mitchell (Haw)
23 – Josh Kennedy (Syd)
22 – Lance Franklin (Syd)
21 – Josh Kelly (GWS)
20 – Rory Sloane (Adel)
19 – Marcus Bontempelli (WB)
18 – Ollie Wines (PA)
17 – Dayne Beams (BL)
Dustin Martin’s incredible 2017 season
• Brownlow medallist
• AFL Players Association MVP
• AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year
• Player of the Year: Herald Sun, SEN, 3AW
• 11 three-vote games (R1 v Carlton, R3 v West Coast, R9 v Greater Western Sydney, R10 v Essendon, R11 v North Melbourne, R15 v Port Adelaide, R17 v Brisbane Lions, R18 v Greater Western Sydney, R19 v Gold Coast, R22 v Fremantle, R23 v St Kilda)
• Averaged 30 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six clearances, six inside-50s, four tackles and a goal each game
• Set new AFL record for most broken tackles (68) and tied record for most in a single game (seven in round 15 win over Port Adelaide)
• Achieved career-high clearances (15 in round three win over West Coast) and inside 50s (12 in round 17 win over Brisbane)
• Most inside 50s this season (147 at six per game)
• Third-most contested possessions this season (340) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield
• Fourth-most disposals this season (715) behind leader Matt Crouch
• Fourth-most clearances this season (155) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield.