Fans lined up for hours to get a moment of happiness with their idol.
Some kids had been there for up to three hours in advance.
Four minutes before AFL Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin arrived, the crowd was warned he was coming and that he had an hour to spare.
Politician in the making: Dustin Martin takes hold of a toddler while pushing his hoodies at Bonds’ Melbourne Central shop. He did not like a question about what his girlfriend thought of the gear
Dustin Martin and his protecting angel Ralph Carr. Carr was quick to move on a journalist who asked his client a fashion question with a twist
Dustin Martin has proven himself to be a comfortable operator in front of massive crowds on the football field
There’s no doubt Dustin Martin is popular – not just because he’s a superstar who transcends the various football codes in Australia – but because he’s seen as a real man of the people.
There are countless reports of Martin selflessly giving up his spare time – without publicity – to visit sick kids in hospital or take time out to inspire young footy players.
But this wasn’t the Martin out doing the rounds of Melbourne on Wednesday to promote his latest fashion range for underwear giant Bonds.
He looked anything but pleased to be the centre of attention on Wednesday.
On the field, Martin is a beacon of confidence.
The footy ground is clearly where the Tiger’s champion is meant to shine.
And shine he does.
Whether it was the television cameras situated in the Bonds shop in Melbourne Central, or the crowd itself, Dusty seemed a bit … dusty.
The waiting media was told Martin would meet and greet the fans and pose for pictures with them before giving a few minutes to answer some questions from reporters.
Martin has been an ‘ambassador’ for Bonds for a few years now so he’s surely accustomed to the drill.
To be fair, none of the fans who queued up to meet Dusty would have much to complain about.
In March, it was reported Martin was dating glamour model Chontelle Berryman.
He signed posters, he signed jumpers and he cracked smiles for photos.
What more could have they asked for?
Some pleasant banter? Perhaps.
Watching Dusty meet his fans on Wednesday was like watching a teenage boyfriend meeting his girlfriend’s dad.
He looked uncomfortable. Annoyed. Hurried. Anxious.
Who knows what is going on in the footballer’s life?
Certainly none of the reporters who had lobbed into the shop to help him push his line of clothing.
The spiel goes that Martin has co-designed his first street wear inspired range of tees, hoodies, cap and beanie, reflecting his ‘unique sense of style’.
But the AFL champ is hardly Jack Nicholson.
Dustin Martin breaks a smile for a fan who had lined up hours to see him. He was not so happy to answer questions about a girlfriend
It remains unclear whether Dustin Martin can actually turn left while off the football field. Here he is staring straight down the lens for Bonds
There was no list of questions he could and could not be asked.
Martin told a Channel 10 reporter he had ‘always been into fashion’.
He ‘had a bit of fun’ with it, he said – deadpan.
Post footy, Martin reckons he ‘definitely’ wanted to remain involved in the fashion business.
He spoke of his favourite label and his ‘joy’ at being involved with Bonds.
Stung with a final question, Martin revealed his favourite item was in fact the very hoodie he was wearing to the Bonds event.
Dustin Martin was linked to model Chontelle Berryman in March. Both later denied they were an item
Blue Steel: Dustin Martin gets his Derek Zoolander going with a smoking stare for his latest range of Bonds gear.
As the camera dipped down, Martin was blind-sided by another question.
‘What does your girlfriend think of the gear?’.
You may think it’s not an unusual question to ask a bloke who is pushing a line of clothing.
In March, it was reported Martin was dating model Chontelle Berryman.
It was a well-placed rumour that both Martin and Berryman shot down in flames.
‘Sorry?’ Martin asked before giving a death stare that Clint Eastwood would have approved of.
‘No comment?’ the reporter asked.
With that, the towering champ’s protecting angel stepped into defend the po-faced hero.
‘Don’t do that,’ Dusty’s manager Ralph Carr said, before giving the reporter a shove in the back.
Carr is a high-profile celebrity manager who could pass as a double for Joe Pesci’s character from Goodfellas.
The reporter, of which was this very scribe, bit back and the mop-headed agent took a step back and denied he had shoved anyone.
But shove he did.
As Martin’s worshippers continued to flood into the store, I left.
Martin had more hands to shake and more smiles to force over at another shop.
And he was in a rush. Or so it seemed.