If the experts have it right, Dustin Martin will win the AFL’s Brownlow Medal in a landslide on Monday night.
But it hasn’t been an easy road to the top for the heavily-tattooed Richmond Tigers superstar.
From accusations he threatened to stab a woman with a chopstick, to his father’s alleged bikie links, Martin has seen more than his share of controversy during a tumultuous career.
After growing up in Castlemaine in country Victoria, Martin dropped out of school at the end of Year Nine and moved to Sydney to be with his father Shane – an alleged bikie.
It hasn’t been an easy road to the top for heavily-tattooed Richmond Tigers superstar Dustin Martin, who is widely tipped to win the Brownlow Medal on Monday. Above, he is pictured with a figurine of himself in a recent social media post
After growing up in Castlemaine in country Victoria, Martin (pictured) dropped out of school at the end of Year Nine and moved to Sydney
From accusations he threatened to stab a woman with a chopstick, to his father’s alleged bikie links, Martin has seen more than his share of controversy during a tumultuous career
Martin worked 12-hour days as a forklift driver in Campbelltown in the city’s south-west, yearning for a ‘normal life’ at his father’s transport business.
‘I hated it… I was working long days and it was not a very good job,’ he once told The Daily Telegraph.
After missing his mates and growing a ‘bit sick of’ sitting on a forklift all day, Martin moved back to his hometown in 2007.
Two stellar seasons in local leagues later, he was drafted to the Tigers at pick number three in 2009 and quickly made a name for himself as a future champion.
But a series of on and off-field incidents threatened to derail his career.
He was suspended by his club for two weeks in 2012 when he and former teammate Daniel Connors took sleeping pills the night before training. They never made it to the compulsory session.
Martin (pictured with North Melbourne’s Marley Williams) has seen more than his share of controversy during a tumultuous career
After growing up in Castlemaine in country Victoria, Martin (right) dropped out of school at the end of Year Nine and moved to Sydney to be with his father Shane (left) – an alleged bikie
The saga spelled the end of Connors’ career, but Martin was given another chance.
He again made headlines the following year when he crossed his wrists and made a jailhouse solute after kicking a goal during an elimination final.
Tigers president at the time Gary March said he and the club were not happy with their star midfielder.
‘It was disappointing, even if it’s not in the context that we think it is. I don’t think players need to be doing that in a game,’ March said.
Martin, who copped a $2,000 suspended fine, later told Richmond the solute was a message to a friend in jail.
He was again in the spotlight in 2015 after giving Collingwood fans a two-finger salute as he celebrated a goal, but it was incident just weeks later that posed the biggest threat to his career.
Martin (pictured during Richmond’s 2014 Mad Monday celebrations) has previoulsy been accused of threatening to stab a woman with a chopstick
Martin was in the spotlight in 2015 after giving Collingwood fans a two-finger salute as he celebrated a goal
Martin was accused of threatening to stab a woman in the face with chopsticks before slamming his hand into a wall above her head at Melbourne’s Mr Miyagi restaurant.
An intoxicated Martin dined at the Chapel Street eatery after attending Stereosonic music festival.
He was asked to quiet down by a nearby female diner when he grew ‘loud and offensive.’
‘He reacted extremely angrily, very very agitated, began swearing at me, standing over me physically, it was extremely intimidating,’ the woman, a Channel 7 producer known as ‘Tracey,’ told Seven News at the time.
Martin poses for a photograph after winning the Most Valuable Player award earlier this month
Martin is hot favourite to win the AFL’s Brownlow Medal Monday night. Here he is pictured at the 2016 count
The Tigers star is pictured at a recovery session in 2014
‘[He] physically stood over me, held a chopstick above my head and threatened to stab me in the face with a chopstick.’
Footage captured by a patron and appearing to show an aggressive Martin being escorted out of the restaurant later surfaced.
He was officially cleared of making threats to kill in 2016 after a police investigation.
Earlier this month, Martin finally broke his silence and spoke of the incident for the first time, nearly two years after what became known as ‘chopstickgate’.
‘It is what it is, it’s in the past now – it was a difficult time at the time,’ Martin told The Footy Show.
‘I’d just been out during the day at a music festival, had a bit too much to drink and was at a restaurant… it wasn’t much, I certainly didn’t threaten anyone.’
He told the Channel Nine program he had learned from his mistakes.
In 2016, Martin’s father Shane was deported to New Zealand because of his criminal record and ‘association with outlaw motorcycle gangs’, the Rebels
Former Tiger Jake King (right) is pictured with Shane Martin (left) after a match in 2013
‘You just don’t go out as much and learn new things every year. I do a bit of meditation, a bit of extra boxing – stuff like that,’ he said.
In 2016, his father Shane was deported to New Zealand because of his criminal record and ‘association with outlaw motorcycle gangs’, the Rebels.
Mr Martin was detained in Sydney in March after his residency visa was cancelled, part of a government crackdown on organised crime figures.
Four weeks later he was deported after the visa failed to meet minimum character requirements.
Although he has never been charged, he remains banned from Australia.
Martin celebrates kicking a goal during the Second AFL Preliminary Final match between Richmond and the Greater Western Sydney Giants