Australian rules football star Dustin Martin has credited the support of his deported New Zealand father after winning the AFL'S top honour, the Brownlow Medal.
The Brownlow is the sport's highest individual honour and the Richmond Tiger's midfielder picked up the trophy at the AFL's award's ceremony in Melbourne last night.
His father Shane Martin was deported to New Zealand last year when Australian authorities cancelled his visa due to his criminal record and alledged links to the Rebel's motorcycle gang.
It means he could not travel back to Australia for the Brownlow award's ceremony or watch his son play in Richmond's AFL grand final against Adelaide on Saturday.
Martin singled his parents out during his acceptance speech.
"Obviously Mum and Dad, you've always supported me with my footy and I couldn't have gotten here with you both, I'm so grateful for everything you've done for me," Martin said.
"I know it's tough for you (Shane) not being here this week, but I know how much you love me and I love you very much."
Martin said he plans to visit Auckland in the next few weeks to see his Dad.
Shane Martin kept up to date with the Brownlow awards from his home in Auckland and said he is rapt with the win.
"I'm pretty proud, pretty emotional," he said.
"I was trying to hold back tears. It's pretty hard, but a very proud moment."