IT only took Dustin Martin one training session for new Castlemaine coach Jamie Elliott to realise he had a future superstar on his hands.
Now the AFL’s newest Brownlow medallist, Martin got his first taste of senior football at Bendigo league club Castlemaine in 2008.
That was also Elliott’s first year as Magpies coach and where he got his first glimpse of a 16-year-old Martin – a former Campbells Creek junior who after spending 2007 in Sydney living and working with his father, Shane, stepped up to Castlemaine.
“I remember after his first training session I rang my father (Col) to tell him about Dustin and he’d then come over every couple of weeks from Maryborough just to watch him train… he was that good,” Elliott said on Tuesday.
“I had heard a little bit of talk locally about him, but I didn’t really know much about him at all.
“But you could see right from his his first training and the way he was built that he was just an awesome talent.
“As a new coach at a club you hope your kids come on, but you certainly don’t expect you’d have one that good in the palm of your hand ready to play.
“I think he was on base payments of about $50 per game that year. He was never greedy and you can see that with the way he is now with his unselfishness.
“For him to win on Monday night, it was a fantastic achievement and obviously a really proud moment in knowing the kid and seeing all the work he has put in.”
Martin won the Bendigo league’s Rising Star Award in 2008 in what was a season where the Magpies finished seventh with a 5-11 record, while he ran a close second in the Magpies’ best and fairest.
Martin was the Magpies’ leading goalkicker with 22, which included a round 16 haul of five in a half against Golden Square, who would go on to play in the grand final that season.
That performance from Martin at Wade Street in a 79-point loss has gone down in Castlemaine folklore.
“That’s the one game that really stood out that year,” said Ron Cawthan, who was president of the Magpies in 2008.
“There will be guys who look back on that now pleased that they got the Dustin Martin ‘don’t argue’ from him as a 16-year-old.”
Martin’s opposing coach that August 9 day at Wade Street was Golden Square’s Mark Adamson.
“Yep, I still remember that day,” Adamson said.
“I remember Dusty when he was playing forward was basically playing right in front of our coaches box and I got a close-up view of the damage he did.
“We had a very good side and experienced backline, and I’m sure he will contest this point, but Anthony Holdstock was on him for a while.
“But I think he might have had three opponents through that half he kicked five goals. He just absolutely dominated... as a 16-year-old in seniors against an experienced group, it was amazing.
“We were asking, who is this kid, and to be honest, it was a pleasure to watch, even as a rival coach.”