RICHMOND’S frenzied assault on this year’s AFL Premiershipthreatens to be accompanied by an unprecedented year of dominance in AFL awards.
Tiger players claimed two of the game’s top individual honours this week, with Dustin Martin’s AFLPA MVP following teammate Jacob Townsend claiming the JJ Liston Trophy for best-and-fairest in the VFL.
In his acceptance speech, Townsend said it was “a bit of a shame” he isn’t part of the Richmond VFL team’s push for a premiership.
The Tigers finished fifth in that comp and have beaten Collingwood and Casey Scorpions to progress to a preliminary final against Box Hill Hawks on Saturday.
Martin has already been selected in the centre for the 2017 All-Australian side, a team in which his teammate Alex Rance was named captain and full-back.
And then there were the 18 coaches who voted Martin a clear winner of their AFLCA award over Patrick Dangerfield, in what is being viewed as one of the finest individual seasons of all-time.
Next for “Dusty” is the Brownlow Medal, where he is starting as the shortest-priced favourite in history, and who’s to say he won’t add the Norm Smith medal come Grand Final day (he’s favourite for that as well)? Or even the ultimate in the premiership cup.
As 1980 Richmond Premiership coach Tony Jewell noted last week, it’s as if all the planets have aligned for the yellow and black.
“That’s obvious when you consider we got a home final despite playing a side in Geelong that finished above us. Where else in the sporting world could that happen?” Jewell said.
“The club has always had a sensational run with injuries given their stars have hardly missed a game and only Nathan Drummond has been out for a long period.
“We had a good year in 1980 when we won the senior flag, senior goalkicking with Michael Roach (112) reserves goalkicking with Mark Jackson (131) and Under-19s goalkicking with Peter Lane (110), plus Peter won the Morrish Medal.”
It will take a monumental effort to match the Tigers of 1973, who won premierships in the seniors, reserves, Under-19s and Under-17s, but maybe 2017 could be the year that rewrites Richmond and AFL record books.