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Underrated, overrated, No.1: Dusty delivers

Dusty's 2017 highlights Watch highlights from Dustin Martin's 2017 home and away season.

DUSTIN Martin won every award imaginable last year and was seemingly the clear No.1 player of 2017.

But according to Champion Data, it was a neck-and-neck battle between the Tiger superstar and Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield for most of the season.

Champion Data's senior analyst Glenn Luff said Martin kicked away in the finals series with a 24.1 average (in Official AFL Player Ratings points) compared to Dangerfield's 12.7.

The stats gurus believe Martin was overrated in 2016 given his midfield minutes and what he produced, however, Champion Data also believe he was underrated by the 'footy world' between 2011 and 2015 given his position on the ground (45 per cent of his time was spent up forward).

In 2017, it all came together, according to Luff. "His ball-winning and forward-half game merged to create close to the perfect footballer, particularly at the pointy end if the season," Luff wrote.

Among the figures cited by Champion Data was winning 62 per cent of the ball in the forward half compared to 38 per cent the year before.

Goals per game improved from 0.4 to 1.5, score assists from 1.2 to 1.8, and score involvements from 6.1 to nine per game.

Martin's numbers for breaking tackles and inside 50s led the competition. He was among the elite for centre clearances, score involvements, kicks and net metres gained.

And as his heat map shows, he spent more time and won more of the ball in the forward half in 2017. He had 63 one-on-one contests and they usually took place forward of centre.

You can crunch numbers in footy anyway you like but Martin's, in so many key categories, were off the charts. He really did have one of the greatest individual seasons of all time.

The numbers tell you that much. But so too do the eyes. There was no more watchable player in the competition, either.

All photos: AFL Photos

Dustin Martin's stellar season

  • Brownlow medallist
  • AFL Players Association MVP
  • AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year
  • Player of the Year: Herald Sun, SEN, 3AW
  • 11 three-vote games (R1 v Carlton, R3 v West Coast, R9 v Greater Western Sydney, R10 v Essendon, R11 v North Melbourne, R15 v Port Adelaide, R17 v Brisbane Lions, R18 v Greater Western Sydney, R19 v Gold Coast, R22 v Fremantle, R23 v St Kilda)
  • Averaged 30 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six clearances, six inside-50s, four tackles and a goal each game
  • Set new AFL record for most broken tackles (68) and tied record for most in a single game (seven in round 15 win over Port Adelaide)
  • Achieved career-high clearances (15 in round three win over West Coast) and inside 50s (12 in round 17 win over Brisbane)
  • Most inside 50s this season (147 at six per game)
  • Third-most contested possessions this season (340) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield
  • Fourth-most disposals this season (715) behind leader Matt Crouch
  • Fourth-most clearances this season (155) behind leader Patrick Dangerfield.

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