Can Dustin Martin be the GOAT?

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Gavin Excell

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Interesting debate, probably never have an answer considering there is no consensus on GOAT previously, is it Matthews, Ablett Snr, Carey? The list and debate can go on and on.
What most can probably agree on is that Dusty produced the greatest individual season of football in memory (2017).
I don’t believe RFC has confirmed he is the GOAT at our club yet, but by the time Dusty hangs up the boots I reckon that will be confirmed.
Who would be his challengers for that title at Richmond?
Hart?
Bartlett?
 

Noidnadroj

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All the other players that get touted for this sort of tag have stood up in finals though. Have they got 3 norm smith medals to show for it? No. However I think you’ll find it incredibly hard to make a case that the likes of Ablett Jr and Sr, Matthews, Carey, Franklin, Voss etc didn’t lift in big games
History forgets the failures ..... Ablett senior played an amazing finals series in 1989, but never reached great heights outside of that. He played 4 x GF and was terrible in 2 (‘94 & ‘95) average in 1 (‘92) and amazing in one.

1989 finals : amazing finals series ... perhaps greatest ever.
1991 final: 6 touches : 0 goals
1992 finals: 4x finals and 16 goals (had a solid finals series and an average GF).
1994 finals: 4 x finals and 16 goals (in prelim and GF had a total of 10 touches, 3 marks and 4 goals ... had a nightmare GF with 1 mark and 1 goal)
1995 finals: 2 x finals and 4 goals (goalless in the GF)
1996 finals: 1 x final and 1 x goal

So outside of 1989, Ablett was an average to below average finals performer. We all tend to remember only 1989, or his mark on the final siren of the 1994 prelim. But unfortunately the reality is after 1989 he was very much a mere mortal in finals ... with some good ones, some average ones and some shockers. His finals performances were well below his H&A performances.

Then Carey had some ripper finals but some duds also:

1993: 1 x final and 0 x goals (6 touches and 1 mark)
1994: 2 x finals and 10 x goals (BOG in both finals)
1995: 3 x finals and 6 x goals (a shocker with 1 x goal in losing prelim)
1996: 3 x finals and 7 x goals (a reasonable GF with 22 touches and 1 x goal)
1997: 3 x finals and 11 x goals (BOG with 7 goals in QF.... 2 x average finals after that)
1998: 3 x finals and 7 x goals (BOG in QF, then below average with only 2 x goals total in PF and GF)
1999: 3 x finals and 11 x goals (BOG in QF, then good in PF and average in GF)

So Carey was much better overall in finals than Ablett Senior. But he still was very hit and miss, with some amazing games, some average games and some shockers.

Carey’s finals record is similar to his H&A record on average. Ablett’s is well below.

So the sands of time forget the shockers and only remember the highs of the greats of the past. I have Geelong friends from the 1989-1995 years I went to GF with constantly annoyed at their ‘guns’ inability to bring the goods in finals, Ablett, Brownless and Bairstow being their prime target of frustration.


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PhatBoy

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History forgets the failures ..... Ablett senior played an amazing finals series in 1989, but never reached great heights outside of that. He played 4 x GF and was terrible in 2 (‘94 & ‘95) average in 1 (‘92) and amazing in one.

1989 finals : amazing finals series ... perhaps greatest ever.
1991 final: 6 touches : 0 goals
1992 finals: 4x finals and 16 goals (had a solid finals series and an average GF).
1994 finals: 4 x finals and 16 goals (in prelim and GF had a total of 10 touches, 3 marks and 4 goals ... had a nightmare GF with 1 mark and 1 goal)
1995 finals: 2 x finals and 4 goals (goalless in the GF)
1996 finals: 1 x final and 1 x goal

So outside of 1989, Ablett was an average to below average finals performer. We all tend to remember only 1989, or his mark on the final siren of the 1994 prelim. But unfortunately the reality is after 1989 he was very much a mere mortal in finals ... with some good ones, some average ones and some shockers. His finals performances were well below his H&A performances.

Then Carey had some ripper finals but some duds also:

1993: 1 x final and 0 x goals (6 touches and 1 mark)
1994: 2 x finals and 10 x goals (BOG in both finals)
1995: 3 x finals and 6 x goals (a shocker with 1 x goal in losing prelim)
1996: 3 x finals and 7 x goals (a reasonable GF with 22 touches and 1 x goal)
1997: 3 x finals and 11 x goals (BOG with 7 goals in QF.... 2 x average finals after that)
1998: 3 x finals and 7 x goals (BOG in QF, then below average with only 2 x goals total in PF and GF)
1999: 3 x finals and 11 x goals (BOG in QF, then good in PF and average in GF)

So Carey was much better overall in finals than Ablett Senior. But he still was very hit and miss, with some amazing games, some average games and some shockers.

Carey’s finals record is similar to his H&A record on average. Ablett’s is well below.

So the sands of time forget the shockers and only remember the highs of the greats of the past. I have Geelong friends from the 1989-1995 years I went to GF with constantly annoyed at their ‘guns’ inability to bring the goods in finals, Ablett, Brownless and Bairstow being their prime target of frustration.


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Yes it’s amazing how when a player is limited to one part of the ground and the ball rarely gets there how little impact they have on a game.
 

JackOutback

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McLeod's home and away record is actually not that good. You're forgetting the fact that he wasn't really considered one of the best players of the game besides a few years in the late 90s and early 2000s. He also played a lot of matches on the wing which IMO isn't as valuable as playing midfield and forward.

Harvey, he has a storied history but his possessions weren't as damaging. He has won two brownlows but I don't see him in the same company as many listed there.

Dangerfield lacks the kicking skills Martin has shown both in home and away and in finals. He plays well in Geelong where the team knows how to play the ground well.

Hird's record, injuries or not is patchy and inconsistent, compared to Martin's record of output which is more consistent.

Swan got a lot of the ball, but his kicking let him down. Arguing for him is merely arguing for stats.

Cousins? I dealt with this before. Less consistent than Martin in home and away and finals. Runs a lot but I think Martin had more influence on the game. Judd was better.

Voss and Buckley, again not the heights. Voss known more for his courage and leadership. I never considered him one of the greatest of midfielders when he played. Found the Voss, Hird and Buckley argument odd.

Ricciuto? I remember when people used to compare Martin to him. IMO Martin does what he did, just better. Able to play the forward and midfield game whereas Ricciuto couldn't do both. Lowkey not actually that damaging inside and only averaged less than 8 contested possessions in an era where many averaged more.

Selwood has been off the boil for a while and the last time I considered him one of the best in the game was around 2012-2014.

Pendlebury has been a really good consistent player but I don't think his career has ever hit the heights in terms of home and away or finals form that Martin has. One of those "15 is worth 30 of another player" types, well so is Martin, except Martin kicks goals as well.

Ablett jnr and Judd I can accept.

I rate Martin ahead of many as there aren't that many who average around 25 touches, 5 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal and 10 contested possessions per game. He passes the stats test and the eye test, as those stats also materialise as a player who has a well-rounded game of quantity and quality. A lot of the players you listed above don't have that. They're good midfielders, great even, but they lack the ability to balance midfield craft with forward craft. Martin's ability to kick goals from the midfield and score as a forward is invaluable.

I also think that while say Ablett jnr is a hard man to catch, many of the likes are either well and truly surpassed by Martin, or, at a stretch, if they're not, they will soon. Martin is fairly durable and I can see him playing at a fairly elite level for another five years.

I also think that no backman I've ever seen would be better than Martin. KPD is a reactive position where your role is clearly defined and you don't create as much as other positions. And I don't rate half back flankers that much. It's an easier role where you're purely negating, as opposed to the midfield and forwardline where you have to create. Key forwards? Been over this before, but I think the only ones who compare in the 25 years I've been watching are Carey, Lockett, Ablett and Franklin. IMO Franklin and Martin are on the same tier. Dunstall's peak was before my time.
Agree with many of these disagree with some. The most egregious for mine is the Hird analysis. I don’t know whether it’s his coaching failures damaging his legacy but he was widely acknowledged at the time as the best in the game alongside Carey. He was a gun that I’d have well ahead of Martin for overall career.
 

Gavin Excell

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Agree with many of these disagree with some. The most egregious for mine is the Hird analysis. I don’t know whether it’s his coaching failures damaging his legacy but he was widely acknowledged at the time as the best in the game alongside Carey. He was a gun that I’d have well ahead of Martin for overall career.
Agree on Hird
While his time at the top was relatively brief, Koutafides was a a superb player in that 99-2000 period.
 

Grrr

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Reckon greatness should not be measured in consistency, or isolated performances like Grand Finals, whether good or bad, but in how much you dominate games over a long career. So whether GASenior had some quiet GF's means not a lot when he destroyed sides and dominated games like no other player I can remember.

Leigh Matthews dominated. Carey similarly, although not to the other two's degree. Hart was up there but didn't play as long and half a career was with a bung knee.

Martin/Dangerfield and Fyfe are this generations dominant players, the fact that Martin has dominated so many finals means he is probably the hardest to stop of all three, and whilst Danger and Fyfe have been dominant for longer, Martin's best is probably more damaging. Kouta wasn't great for long enough but his best was as good as anyones. Hird was a freak, Robert Harvey was one I have right up the top. Blight with his tail up was as good as anyone. But you have to do it season after season which is why GAS, Matthews, maybe GAJ and others before my time like Bunton are considered the greatest players.
 

Noidnadroj

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Yes it’s amazing how when a player is limited to one part of the ground and the ball rarely gets there how little impact they have on a game.
Hahah ..... that old chestnut.

Of course it’s harder if the midfield is getting beaten .... but as you know, Inside 50 averages are similar win, lose or draw.

I’ve watched those Geelong GF’s many times, and Gazza was not short of opportunities by a long shot - even the most fervent Cats supporter can’t deny this. It’s a bitter pill I know as he’s one of the all-time greatest and treated Richmond like a suburban 5ths team.... he’s in my top-5 of all-time.

However, I know it’s sacrilege to mention it, but the facts are that other than 1989 Gazza wasn’t great in his 3 other Grand Finals, and didn’t dominate many finals outside of 1989. But his dominance of 1989 is unsurpassed and I believe still qualifies him as a top finals player - but he was great in 1 x finals series.



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PhatBoy

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Hahah ..... that old chestnut.

Of course it’s harder if the midfield is getting beaten .... but as you know, Inside 50 averages are similar win, lose or draw.

I’ve watched those Geelong GF’s many times, and Gazza was not short of opportunities by a long shot - even the most fervent Cats supporter can’t deny this. It’s a bitter pill I know as he’s one of the all-time greatest and treated Richmond like a suburban 5ths team.... he’s in my top-5 of all-time.

However, I know it’s sacrilege to mention it, but the facts are that other than 1989 Gazza wasn’t great in his 3 other Grand Finals, and didn’t dominate many finals outside of 1989. But his dominance of 1989 is unsurpassed and I believe still qualifies him as a top finals player - but he was great in 1 x finals series.



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He averaged 4.1 goals per game for his career. He averaged 4.0 goals per game for finals, playing exclusively against top 6 opponents. He’d need to have played more than one good finals series to do that
 

Noidnadroj

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He averaged 4.1 goals per game for his career. He averaged 4.0 goals per game for finals, playing exclusively against top 6 opponents. He’d need to have played more than one good finals series to do that
I said he was ‘great’ in one finals series. He was overall ‘OK’ in others with some very good finals sprinkled in, but not even close to great. He wasn’t BOG in any final outside 1989.

I’d say given he has claims on GOAT, to play 1 x great finals series out of 6 opportunities is a little disappointing.

In 1989 he kicked 27 goals in 4 games at 6.75 per game - amazing!

From other finals he kicked 33 goals in 11 games at 3 per game.... playing almost exclusively at full forward. It’s still good but well below career, especially as his career FF average is about 6.

I’d rate him an A++ in 1989 and a ‘C+’ average in all other finals.


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BF Tiger

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I said he was ‘great’ in one finals series. He was overall ‘OK’ in others with some very good finals sprinkled in, but not even close to great. He wasn’t BOG in any final outside 1989.

I’d say given he has claims on GOAT, to play 1 x great finals series out of 6 opportunities is a little disappointing.

In 1989 he kicked 27 goals in 4 games at 6.75 per game - amazing!

From other finals he kicked 33 goals in 11 games at 3 per game.... playing almost exclusively at full forward. It’s still good but well below career, especially as his career FF average is about 6.

I’d rate him an A++ in 1989 and a ‘C+’ average in all other finals.


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His 92 finals series was very good as well. 5.1 4.5 4.2 and 3.1 across the four games played.
94 was a good year too. 6.6 6.3 3.0 and 1.2. Could only say his GF was a bust.

91 EF was a fail (0.0), as was 95 GF (0.3) and 96 QF (1.3) to go with his 94 GF mentioned above (1.2). All others were serviceable at least. So four bad finals in 16 across his career isn't a poor finals performer stat IMHO, just off days and all in losing teams.
 

Richo83

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Agree with many of these disagree with some. The most egregious for mine is the Hird analysis. I don’t know whether it’s his coaching failures damaging his legacy but he was widely acknowledged at the time as the best in the game alongside Carey. He was a gun that I’d have well ahead of Martin for overall career.
Hird was a star, yes. This is what I said about him in another thread:

I find it hard to place Hird properly. He was inconsistent due to the fact that he was almost comically injury prone and therefore missed a lot of matches. He also got put in numerous places meaning he didn't have the consistency that regular on-ballers like Buckley had. His best was electric. Five All-Australians.

However, he only won 10 brownlow votes or more three times and won on 21 votes even though I think he was gifted some votes. I wonder if you take away Hird's medal and Essendon have to face a harder challenge than Melbourne in the 2000 grand final (and Hird actually has to play on someone decent), does he win his Norm Smith? It's a lot of maybes and buts but so is saying "imagine if he never got injured". He was plain bad in the 2001 grand final. I am told he wasn't fit going into the final though. And that's the challenge with Hird, how much do injuries factor.

I also wonder how much Essendon needed him for his success. Didn't play much in the 1999 season when they get pipped by Carlton. Does he win them the game against the blues? Does he win them the game against North a week later? In 2000 he felt like a luxury as Essendon won even when he didn't play well. In 2001 his form was patchy and struggled when it counted.

My problem with Hird is that, for many sports, longevity is counted as important. It's unfortunate that Hird was so injury prone, and he couldn't help it. But it does limit his legacy as a player as compared to Martin who has been able to shine week in week out. I also don't think his coaching history has anything to do with it. IMO that 2000 Essendon side was overrated and managed to win a lot of games in 2000 when sides weren't used to playing at Docklands and the competition was a bit weak. Apart from that year, the side in general just wasn't able to perform that well. Hird, as an inconsistent star has to take some of the blame. He was their best player, but Essendon's inability to win premierships beyond 2000 IMO is because their team wasn't that good.

I also think that Hird's skills, which is what made him good is what makes Martin good. I think Martin is a better contested player than Hird which makes him better in my eyes.
 

Noidnadroj

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His 92 finals series was very good as well. 5.1 4.5 4.2 and 3.1 across the four games played.
94 was a good year too. 6.6 6.3 3.0 and 1.2. Could only say his GF was a bust.

91 EF was a fail (0.0), as was 95 GF (0.3) and 96 QF (1.3) to go with his 94 GF mentioned above (1.2). All others were serviceable at least. So four bad finals in 16 across his career isn't a poor finals performer stat IMHO, just off days and all in losing teams.
His ‘94 PF he had 5 touches ... but his job is to kick goals so I’ll agree 3 is serviceable, particularly as he kicked the match winner.

So I’m being a bit harsh with my assessment. I just think the Cats needed him to play a ‘Gazza special’ to get them a flag post 1989, and he delivered some good to very good games, but was never able to light a final up again like he did 3 times in 1989. He probably suffers from a standard set too high in 1989.

And he does rely on delivery from upfield ... I just felt he had many opportunities to impose himself in some big finals, and wasn’t able to execute as often as he and supporters would have liked for someone so dominant in 1993 and 1994 in H&A where he was Superman.


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PhatBoy

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His ‘94 PF he had 5 touches ... but his job is to kick goals so I’ll agree 3 is serviceable, particularly as he kicked the match winner.

So I’m being a bit harsh with my assessment. I just think the Cats needed him to play a ‘Gazza special’ to get them a flag post 1989, and he delivered some good to very good games, but was never able to light a final up again like he did 3 times in 1989. He probably suffers from a standard set too high in 1989.

And he does rely on delivery from upfield ... I just felt he had many opportunities to impose himself in some big finals, and wasn’t able to execute as often as he and supporters would have liked for someone so dominant in 1993 and 1994 in H&A where he was Superman.


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Remember too he was only a specialist full forward from 93. Still agree he had some quiet games but he was a flanker until then with the odd spell in the square
 

James Colorado

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Agree on Hird
While his time at the top was relatively brief, Koutafides was a a superb player in that 99-2000 period.
I was a kid then, but my recollection of that era was if Koutifides didn't get injured in 2000, then Shane Woewodin doesn't become a punchline.
 

Tzatziki_Man

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Ablett Snr never won Geelong a grand final.

Martin never lost a grand final.

So hes better than Ablety Snr, history will show.

And then he crushed his son too to end the Ablett name forever.
 

PJays

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Dustin Martin has more premierships than St. Kilda.

Trod along now.

And the best thing? He supported them growing up 😏😏
Haha nice diversion from your comment about Ablett

A 36 year old Ablett, after sustaining an injury during the game, struggled in the GF so Martin has crushed him

Let's see what Martin's doing in 2027. Probably drinking the hard stuff and getting the last 1% of his body tattooed.....
 

energyquant

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One way to think about this: as an opposition fan, in a tight game with 2 minutes to go, the ball lands in the hands of PLAYER X with a few steps on his opponent. Which great player makes you go "oh no" in that moment, because you know he's about to rip the game away from your team.

For me, it's a long list: Hodge, Franklin, Carey, ******* Brent Harvey, Gary Ablett Jnr, Scott Pendlebury, Shaun Burgoyne etc. I'd be surprised if most non-Richmond supporters don't feel the same about Dusty.

EDIT: I forgot David Bloody Mundy.
 

tdyen

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Someone mentioned Dunstall previously but he was just a good lead and very good kick on the pointy end of the best midfield of the decade. When the rest of the team went his performances dropped off too. He couldn't spark the team like GAS, Carey or Martin. I don't think he is a GOAT contender just a very good workman.
 

BJK#5

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Someone mentioned Dunstall previously but he was just a good lead and very good kick on the pointy end of the best midfield of the decade. When the rest of the team went his performances dropped off too. He couldn't spark the team like GAS, Carey or Martin. I don't think he is a GOAT contender just a very good workman.
This is a wild opinion. You just called the 3rd all time leading goal kicker 'just a very good workman'.

You say he could never spark a team like Martin and yet when has Martin ever led a bad team to flag success? Before Richmond were good they were a non finals team or a first round exit. Martin is the best player on a great team and that apparently makes him great, when Dusntall does it he is a workman being carried by a great midfield.
 

The full package

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Someone mentioned Dunstall previously but he was just a good lead and very good kick on the pointy end of the best midfield of the decade. When the rest of the team went his performances dropped off too. He couldn't spark the team like GAS, Carey or Martin. I don't think he is a GOAT contender just a very good workman.
Workman like, no, he was one of the best in business when full forwards dominated. I watched him kick 17 against us one day.
 

Do the Dew

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This is a wild opinion. You just called the 3rd all time leading goal kicker 'just a very good workman'.

You say he could never spark a team like Martin and yet when has Martin ever led a bad team to flag success? Before Richmond were good they were a non finals team or a first round exit. Martin is the best player on a great team and that apparently makes him great, when Dusntall does it he is a workman being carried by a great midfield.
2017...

We finished 2016 in 13th place and had been pummeled by 100+ points in the last game. We were 4 wins off making finals, had just lost one of our best players (Deledio), and put up with constant calls to cull our list and sack the coach. From there, Dusty carried us to a 2017 flag, which included a Brownlow, Norm Smith, Coaches Association best player, MVP voted by players. If that's not carrying a team idk what is.
 

BJK#5

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2017...

We finished 2016 in 13th place and had been pummeled by 100+ points in the last game. We were 4 wins off making finals, had just lost one of our best players (Deledio), and put up with constant calls to cull our list and sack the coach. From there, Dusty carried us to a 2017 flag, which included a Brownlow, Norm Smith, Coaches Association best player, MVP voted by players. If that's not carrying a team idk what is.
Yes and if Dunstall winning B&f’s and Coleman’s in premiership years isn’t ‘carrying a team’ I don’t know what is.

Dusty was outstanding and great in 2017 but he had a very good team playing very good footy around him. Lets not pretend that Richmond were a bad 22 in 17 because of what happened in 16. I am just using the same logic that the OP was using.
 

Royce Hafey

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Just on SuperCoach and possessions... when looking at raw numbers Dusty’s look lower, but no-one takes into account that Richmond are a low possession team and how this impacts on Dusty’s numbers. Richmond might possess 10% less than other sides, so it would follow that Dusty gets 10% less possessions than if he played in a high possession team. Dusty also has a higher kick:handball ratio, which leads to more clangers. Mix it all up and normalise and I reckon Dusty would sit comfortably with others in terms of total possessions, SuperCoach scores and clanger count.
Dusty's "best" year for possessions was 2016 when he averaged over 30 per game. His possession tally actually went down in 2017 due to the new game style, but you'd actually have to be an idiot to think that that meant that he performed worse in 2017 than 2016. Regarding AA nominations, which some have used against him, I think this is unfair in Dusty's case because of the way he divides his time equally between the midfield and the forward line. AA selects for postions and he doesn't get the stats to be a picked as a pure mid or a pure forward.
 

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