Shane Martin, the father of superstar AFL player Dustin, died on Friday at the age of 54 after a life spent inspiring his son to become a footy great and becoming a top-ranking member of the Rebels outlaw bikie gang.
The elder Martin spent what proved to be his final few years living in New Zealand, after he was deported from Australia in 2016.
The 54-year-old was deported from Australian five years ago over his bikie links.
He was forced to build a new life for himself in Auckland – and also be stranded across the Tasman away from his Richmond Tigers midfielder son.
Ultimately, it was his 14-year ties with the fearsome bikie gang, as well as a criminal record that was tainted by aggravated assault charges and drug trafficking, that led to his banishment.
Shane Martin with his three sons – Bronson (centre) , Tyson (left) and future AFL superstar Dustin (right)
The Richmond midfielder previously credited his father Shane for shaping the ‘man he is today’
In 2017, then-immigration Minister Peter Dutton revealed he was briefed on Dustin Martin’s bikie-linked father that warranted deporting him – and the decision was permanent.
Mr Martin later challenged the decision – before Mr Dutton later conceded in Federal Court that he was banished on a legal error.
‘I’ve won my case but I still can’t home to Australia to be with my family,’ Shane said at the time.
‘Based on what the minister has said publicly, I’m still not going to get a fair go.’
Dustin Martin’s love for his father was obvious, describing his old man as one of the biggest influences in his life.
‘It’s been a massive challenge, but it is what it is,’ he said after the deportation.
‘I love my dad and he’s made me the man I am today.’
‘Dusty’ also said he dreamed of his father one day returning to Australia so he could watch his AFL games in person.
‘That’s my dream to be able to have the old man up there (in the grandstand) with the rest of my family and watch the Tigers win another flag,’ Martin said.
In his book, A Rebel in Exile, which was published in 2019, the elder Martin revealed how he came to be a member of the Rebels.
‘One meeting night, us noms (Rebels gang nominees) were downstairs in the clubhouse stocking the bar and mucking about,’ Martin recalled.
‘Members don’t drink before meetings, so we were mostly just waiting for it to finish. The members came in one by one and filed upstairs for their eight o’clock meeting. A while later, a bark came from upstairs. “Kiwi, come up here!”
‘At first I thought they just wanted some beer or something, but it became clear it was more than that.’
Banished to New Zealand in 2016 due to his bikie links, Shane Martin watched his son win all three of his AFL premierships with Richmond across the Tasman (pictured with actress Rachel Griffiths)
Richmond confirmed in a club statement Shane Martin died in New Zealand on Friday aged 54
Martin feared he was out on the outside with the Rebels – only to then be anointed as an official member.
‘He (president) came out from behind the table and gave me a big bear hug. One by one all of the other members did the same. I was handed a plastic bag with the four parts of the back patch and the rest of the front in it. I had my colours. I was in.
‘I walked back downstairs, and the other noms were all looking at me.
‘I hollered at them, “Get me a beer,” and they knew what that meant. With a patch I could now call the shots rather than having them called at me.’
He also detailed why his son turned down a lengthy contract with North Melbourne due to his loyalty to Richmond back in 2017.
Additionally, in his autobiography, Martin recalled his previous involvement in a police raid with what he dubbed ‘Australia’s finest’.
The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted Dustin Martin’s regular visits to his father, with the AFL superstar unable to see him for 12 months
‘Me and a few others were in the back room when we first heard a bit of a commotion,’ he wrote.
‘These Raptor cops came crashing in like they were busting up a terrorist plot.
‘There were loads of them. ‘They were everywhere, all blacked out with helmets and balaclavas, each with riot guns. And they were screaming, ‘Get on the ground, you dogs! Get down!’
At the time, police demanded the bikies lay on the ground and if anyone moved they were thumped with the butt of a rifle and had their hands zip-tied behind their back.
There are no suspicious circumstances behind his death, with the exact cause of his death still to be determined.