AFL legend Dustin ‘Dusty’ Martin reveals he is a poetry-lover who wants to be remembered as ‘brave and caring’ rather than for his football accolades in a raw new book.
The notoriously private Richmond Tigers superstar reached the pinnacle of his career in 2017 with breathtaking on-field performances that won him a slew of prestigious prizes, including the Brownlow Medal and the Gary Ayres Award.
He scored Player of the Year awards from both the AFL Coaches Association and the AFL Players’ Association, a second Jack Dyer Medal, an All Australian guernsey and a series of media awards that celebrated his enviable talents on the field.
But deep down, the tattooed athlete felt unfulfilled and resented the idea that his self-worth was based on his capacity to secure another flag or Norm Smith Medal.
Dustin ‘Dusty’ Martin (pictured) struggled with his sense of self-worth, despite his sporting achievements
Martin (pictured in a Bonds ad) met life coach Ben Crowe in 2018 and embarked on a journey of self-discovery
Life coach Ben Crowe explained in Martin’s autobiographical tome, The Story Continues, that the 30-year-old lived a ‘pretty miserable existence’ and struggled with his self-esteem when they first started working together in 2018.
‘He had achieved, but he was unsatisfied, and was trying to make sense of those feelings, and was frustrated with the expectations of having to do it again next year,’ Mr Crowe explained in an exert of the book, published by the Herald Sun.
‘Does that mean if he doesn’t win another one that he’s not good enough, or not worthy?’
With Mr Crowe’s help, Martin went on an ‘exploration of who he is’ and delved into his love of poetry and quotes, and the Gaia app – an online resource that produces yoga and meditation videos, along with documentaries about nature and the universe.
Martin has a long list of football awards. Pictured: Dustin Martin (left, holding the cup) and Noah Balta of the Tigers celebrate during the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats
Martin (picturing signing autographs) reads self-improvement books in his down time
‘He went on that journey, and it’s been beautiful,’ Mr Crowe said.
‘The exploration of what lights him up, and what his values are and what his motivations are, and what his purpose is and his goals are – and who he is – has been deep.’
While Martin still loves boxing, spending hours on his motorbike, swimming in Port Philip and playing football in front of hoards of cheering crowds, he spends his down time reading self-improvement books.
His nightstand is stacked with personal growth texts, such as The Power of Now, Japanese book The Courage to be Disliked, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and the Toltec wisdom book The Four Agreements.
Martin (pictured) is notoriously guarded about his private life and rarely gives interviews
Martin is one of Australia’s most bankable sports stars, having inked sponsorship deals with the likes of Bonds, Nike, Archies Footwear and luxury watch brand Kennedy in recent years
He realised he wants to be remembered ‘as a loving, caring, loyal person – someone who’s real and genuine, fun and funny to be around’, and believes his life’s purpose is to help people feel ‘loved and appreciated’.
Martin also values resilience, takes pride in his optimism, and genuinely believes something good will come of every experience – the good and the bad.
In late September, Martin looked a shadow of his former self when he was seen for the first time since undergoing surgery in July for a lacerated kidney.
The Story Continues by Dustin Martin is in stores from October 19
He was placed on an all-fruit diet to help his recovery, and was understood to have lost 10kg since his surgery.
Richmond Physical Performance Manager Peter Burge said: ‘He has had to manage his diet (for his) health a little bit over the last couple of weeks and will do over the next three to four weeks as well.’
He is working with specialists and will be able to resume some form of light training over the off-season.’
Martin spent nine days in hospital after suffering a lacerated kidney in a brutal on-field clash with Brisbane player Mitch Robinson on July 16.
He missed the last month of the AFL season due to the injury.
Martin’s coach Damien Hardwick lauded the toughness of his big game performer at the time.
‘He’s a very strong lad, Dustin,’ Hardwick said.
‘The one thing that I will say about Dustin is mentally he handles these things very well… he’s in good spirits.’
Richmond’s premiership hopes went up in smoke as a result of Martin’s injury, but the three-time Norm Smith medallist is now poised to be front and centre as his team chase their fourth flag in six seasons next year.
The Story Continues by Dustin Martin, Hardie Grant Books – RRP $49.99, is in stores nationally from October 19.