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Can anyone beat Dusty for the AFLPA MVP?

Buddy's fitness, Jake's future, Heath's call Tuesday Footy Feed with Matt Thompson and Nick Bowen

IS THIS the year Dustin Martin celebrates September with a clean sweep of the awards season, adding the AFLPA Most Valuable Player award to his AFLCA champion gong? 

Martin, the un-backable favourite for the Brownlow Medal and last week's winner – with a record 122 votes – of the coaches' association top prize, is poised to take out the players' association award on Tuesday night at Peninsula in Docklands. 

Named the Leigh Matthew Trophy after its inaugural winner in 1982, the MVP is arguably held in the highest esteem by the players as the winner is determined by his peers. 

While Martin, whose incredible year has helped secure Richmond as a genuine flag contender, is a likely first-time winner, Geelong powerhouse and defending MVP Patrick Dangerfield looms as his biggest contender.

However, retired St Kilda forward and 2004 winner Nick Riewoldt went against the grain and voted for Coleman Medal recipient Lance Franklin, with a desire to see a key position player win over a midfielder.  

"I voted for 'Buddy', actually," Riewoldt told SEN on Tuesday morning.

"As far as most valuable I thought 'Dusty' and 'Danger' statistically have probably had better years, but I just think for value to the team and importance for the team, Lance Franklin's still the best player in the comp. 

"I think the way he's able to carry that side up there at times … he's just an incredible talent.

"It is nice to shake it up a bit, we know the midfielders generally have a monopoly and a mortgage on all of those type of awards." 

Martin was the AFLPA's MVP of the month in both June and July this season, with Rory Sloane (March/April), Josh Kelly (May) and Lance Franklin (August) also acknowledged. 

When pitting them head to head, Martin has played every game this season to Dangerfield's 22, and averaged 30.2 disposals to 30.3 a game.

Dangerfield was the raging favourite for back-to-back Brownlows before his round 19 one-week suspension for a controversial tackle on Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer.

While Martin remains an easy favourite with Dangerfield ineligible, a victory on Tuesday won't necessarily ensure he'll poll the most votes on Brownlow night.

In the last two years, the MVP has gone on to win the League's best and fairest prize – Dangerfield last year, and Nat Fyfe in 2015.

But on four other occasions since 2010, the winners of the two awards have been different.

The nomination process for the MVP award is two-stage, with players first selecting three of their teammates for the award. 

Then, three nominees from all of the 18 clubs are presented to the League's entire player group, who vote on an overall winner. 

They cannot vote for a teammate during the second stage of the process. 

There were some surprise nominations, with Collingwood putting up Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom along with Jeremy Howe. 

Howe and midfielder Adam Treloar were the Pies' only Virgin Australia AFL All Australian squad members this season. 

Melbourne also went in a different direction to the AA squad of 40, with Clayton Oliver getting the nod over Jeff Garlett.  

And, Adelaide's players chose Matt Crouch, Rory Laird and Rory Sloane from a bevy of strong contributors, with the Crows' nominees three of their eight All Australian squad members. 

Tuesday night's function will also recognise the most courageous player, best first year player, best captain and the best 22 under the age of 22 team, among other awards. 


Matt Crouch, Rory Laird, Rory Sloane 

Dayne Beams, Tom Rockliff, Dayne Zorko 

Sam Docherty, Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy 

Jeremy Howe, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom 

Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley, Zach Merrett 

Nat Fyfe, Bradley, Hill, Lachie Neale 

Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan 

Gary Ablett, Jarryd Lyons, Jarrod Witts 

Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel 

Shaun Burgoyne, Ben McEvoy, Tom Mitchell 

Michael Hibberd, Clayton Oliver, Neville Jetta 

Ben Brown, Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins 

Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas, Paddy Ryder 

Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Alex Rance 

Jake Carlisle, Dylan Roberton, Sebastian Ross 

Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker 

Josh Kennedy, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo 

Marcus Bontempelli, Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Macrae