Ben Cousins heaps reward on Dustin Martin forward of his three hundredth sport

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Former teammate Ben Cousins has penned a glowing tribute to Dustin Martin on the eve of the Richmond champion’s three hundredth AFL sport.

Martin arrived at Punt Highway by way of the 2009 nationwide draft and his first season within the AFL coincided with Cousins’ second and ultimate 12 months with the Tigers.

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Cousins’ checkered AFL profession featured 238 video games, a Brownlow Medal and a premiership with West Coast earlier than he was banned by the league for the 2008 season following an arrest for drug possession and refusing a blood check.

As soon as he was allowed to compete once more, Cousins was picked up by Richmond within the 2008 pre-season draft and when he linked up with the Tigers, he was immediately struck by the shy, quiet draft choose.

“The ultimate two years of my AFL profession got here with an sudden bonus when Dustin ‘Dusty’ Martin arrived at Punt Highway late in 2009 for pre-season coaching,” Cousins wrote in a column for 7NEWS.

“I might simply bang on concerning the monumental impression he made on me proper from the get-go, as he was merely doing issues on-field I’d by no means seen earlier than from a first-year participant.

“Fifteen seasons later and on the eve of sport 300, this quiet child ceaselessly let his soccer do the speaking and it solely received louder.

“So much has been mentioned of his unbelievable profession however staying true to your self all through a prolonged journey has impressed me simply as a lot.

“Massive kudos for a child who simply cherished his footy, had a bucketload of perception and, thankfully for him, a willingness to beat some unexpected obstacles.”

Like Cousins, Martin battled off-field points throughout his 15 seasons within the AFL, however overcame all of it to face as one of many greats of the game.

The 32-year-old received the Norm Smith Medal in all three of Richmond’s premierships throughout his time at Punt Highway, together with 4 All-Australian awards and two membership greatest and fairest nods.

Martin has additionally shunned publicity, together with a refusal to do undertake any media appearances within the build-up to Saturday’s conflict with Hawthorn, when he’ll turn into the 104th participant to chalk up 300 video games.

Cousins, who fashioned a detailed friendship with the Richmond champion, credited the person recognized universally as “Dusty” for staying true to himself throughout his glittering profession.

“Each younger participant enters the AFL world with numerous rising as much as do and even figuring out who you actually are can generally be complicated,” the 45-year-old wrote.

“It’s not straightforward to remain genuine in a cutthroat trade the place everybody has their say, on the mercy of a system that may typically prey on these but to show themselves a product of the institution.

“I can think about at occasions there’s been inside anguish, struggles and strain to ‘conform’ that carries a big weight not misplaced on me.

“This can be a gruelling sport which leaves you bodily and emotionally spent on a weekly foundation.

“Throw in extra ranges of expectation, reputation and endless scrutiny it might generally make one really feel such as you’re combating the battle on all fronts, and talking from expertise, it may also be lonely.

“This storyline might’ve learn considerably totally different with out the staunch assist of the Tiger military. The alliance that developed between he and his guardians is unbreakable.

“Sure, there’s an argument to recommend that success brings accountability and entry on all fronts, but when that’s not your factor why ought to we push somebody down a path of duplicity?

“For Dusty to achieve 300 video games beneath a highlight of unsought consideration is testomony to his ardour of simply eager to play the sport he nonetheless loves.”

Cousins additionally in contrast Martin to another modern-day greats that most well-liked to keep away from the highlight.

“He’s turn into an icon of this sport (simply ask any child) who, for my part, has already given again extra via his on-field deeds than anybody might give in look worth.

“Different icons of the sport like Tony Lockett, Gary Ablett Sr and extra lately Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin have additionally most well-liked privateness over self-praise and fanfare so absolutely there’s room for him in that shelter too.

“I’ve the utmost admiration for the best way Dustin Martin has dealt with himself all through his profession.

“He entered the sector with a ‘don’t argue’ and has stored delivering ever since.

“Maybe that’s a becoming phrase for us all to ponder on one other degree.

“For me personally, it’s necessary to be at this milestone sport to share within the celebration of an impressive man and his ever-supportive soccer membership.

“And I for one don’t count on one other miracle efficiency on this explicit massive day. Simply get pleasure from it, my good pal, you’ve earned it.”

It has been a tough season for the Tigers, choosing up simply two wins from 13 matches to this point.

A type of victories was towards the ladder-leading Swans, the one staff to beat Sydney thus far in 2024, whereas they’re additionally coming off an upset win towards the Crows in Adelaide.

The Tigers will probably be determined to salute their champion midfielder on the MCG as he takes his three hundredth bow.

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