webnexttech | Ben Cousins: The one thing about Dustin Martin ‘not lost on me’
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The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ News Chevron Down Icon Breaking News Western Australia National World Technology Opinion Weather Sport Chevron Down Icon AFL Cricket Soccer Basketball Tennis NRL Rugby Motor Racing MMA Golf Netball Cycling Entertainment Chevron Down Icon Confidential Movies Best Short Film Television Music Reviews Books Competitions Business Chevron Down Icon Breaking News Economy Markets Property Commercial Property Workplace Matters Lifestyle Chevron Down Icon Food Personal Finance Health Parenting Fashion Travel Home & Garden Relationships Stars Real Estate HUH? Local News Chevron Down Icon North Central South Mandurah Competitions Find My Paper Digital Editions Shop Now Read your local paperNews to your inbox Camera IconDustin Martin and Ben Cousins crossed paths at Richmond in 2009-10 and remain close mates to this day. Credit: Getty Ben Cousins: The one thing about Dustin Martin ‘not lost on me’ Ben Cousins7NEWS Sport June 14, 2024 4:00PM Comments TopicsOpinionAFL COMMENT The final two years of my AFL career came with an unexpected bonus when Dustin ‘Dusty’ Martin arrived at Punt Road late in 2009 for pre-season training. I could easily bang on about the enormous impression he made on me right from the get-go, as he was simply doing things on-field I’d never seen before from a first-year player. Fifteen seasons later and on the eve of game 300, this quiet kid forever let his football do the talking and it only got louder. TheNightly Get in front of tomorrow’s news for FREE Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.READ NOW A lot has been said of his incredible career but staying true to yourself throughout a lengthy journey has impressed me just as much. Big kudos for a kid who just loved his footy, had a bucketload of belief and, fortunately for him, a willingness to overcome some unforeseen obstacles.Camera IconBen Cousins enters the field for his final AFL game, with Dustin Martin close by. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images Every young player enters the AFL world with a lot of growing-up to do and even knowing who you really are can sometimes be confusing. It’s not easy to stay authentic in a cut-throat industry where everyone has their say, at the mercy of a system that can often prey on those yet to prove themselves a product of the establishment. I can imagine at times there’s been internal anguish, struggles and pressure to ‘conform’ that carries a significant weight not lost on me. This is a gruelling sport which leaves you physically and emotionally spent on a weekly basis. Throw in additional levels of expectation, popularity and never-ending scrutiny it can sometimes make one feel like you’re fighting the fight on all fronts, and speaking from experience, it can also be lonely. Initially, every player has to prove their worthiness at the top level, but a big part of success is longevity and continual high performance that comes from getting the balance right, understanding who you are as a footballer and person, and supplementing it with a lifestyle conducive to it flourishing under all conditions. You can easily get the balance wrong before you get it right… and vice versa. It ain’t easy, let me tell ya.Camera IconCousins runs behind Martin during the 2010 season. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty ImagesCamera IconCousins sitting with Martin at a Richmond training session in Perth. Credit: Instagram Make no mistake, the entire Richmond Football Club plays a crucial role here, too. This storyline could’ve read somewhat different without the staunch support of the Tiger army. The alliance that developed between he and his guardians is unbreakable. Yes, there’s an argument to suggest that success brings responsibility and access on all fronts but if that’s not your thing why should we push someone down a path of duplicity. For Dusty to reach 300 games under a spotlight of unsought attention is testament to his passion of just wanting to play the game he still loves. He’s become an icon of this game (just ask any kid) who, in my opinion, has already given back more through his on-field deeds than anyone could give in appearance value. Other icons of the game like Tony Lockett, Gary Ablett Sr and more recently Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin have also preferred privacy over self-praise and fanfare so surely there’s room for him in that shelter too. I have the utmost admiration for the way Dustin Martin has handled himself throughout his career. Your cookie settings are preventing this third party content from displaying. If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings. To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide. He entered the arena with a ‘don’t argue’ and has kept delivering ever since. Perhaps that’s a fitting phrase for us all to ponder on another level. For me personally, it’s important to be at this milestone game to share in the celebration of an outstanding man and his ever-supportive football club. And I for one don’t expect another miracle performance on this particular big day. Just enjoy it, my good friend, you’ve earned it. Go Tiges! Ben Cousins is a 7NEWS sports presenter in Perth. He played 270 AFL games across stints with West Coast, winning a premiership and a Brownlow Medal, and Richmond. Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Register and have your say. Register to comment Already have an account? Log in FIND OUT MOREWATCH NOW. 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