AFL world calls out Richmond's Dustin Martin move as Garry Lyon urges veteran to make a stand

Martin has been ruled out of the Tigers' clash against the Crows with illness.

Richmond have announced Dustin Martin will not make the trip to Adelaide for Thursday night's match against the Crows as he is "crook", paving the way for the superstar to play his 300th game at the MCG. Martin was reportedly ill on Tuesday and did not attend the Tigers' main training session at Punt Rd, with coach Adam Yze confirming that he would not be in the side to take on the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

"He's a bit crook," Yze said of Martin on Tuesday. "It was always going to be based on how he got through (training). Whether he trained or not, there (still) would have been a big question mark on him.

"The silver lining to that is the fact that he will get to play his 300th in front of our home crowd against the Hawks next week. We're disappointed that he's not available for this week, but for our supporters and our Tiger army, they'll get to see him - which will be great."

Garry Lyon pictured left and Dustin Martin pictured right
Dustin Martin has been ruled out of the Tigers' clash against the Crows with illness after Garry Lyon urged the Richmond great to play his 300th game in Adelaide. Image: Getty

The announcement that Martin won't head to Adelaide comes after Melbourne great Garry Lyon urged the 32-year-old to make a stand and put the club first by playing his milestone match this week away from the MCG. "Dustin Martin should play his 300th game this (Thursday) in Adelaide,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s On the Couch on Monday night.

"He should walk into (Yze’s) office and say ‘mate, I know you’re going to let me play my 300th the week after, but this is a team game we play’, and for him to say ‘I’ve won everything there is to win in footy, I’ve got three Norm Smiths, the Brownlow, every single title. I will happily celebrate my 301st game back at the MCG, because right now, we’ve got 26 fit players on our list, and you need me in Adelaide’.


"OK, if everything was even, then he should 100 per cent play at the MCG for marketing, for the Richmond faithful, for all those things — but it’s not (even). These are the most extraordinary circumstances for a first-year coach. The team’s getting smashed, they’ve lost (Mykelti) Lefau again with an ACL, now’s the time for him — and I won’t think less of him if this doesn’t happen, by the way — but I reckon it’d be one of the great moments of the year for Dusty to walk in and say ‘we’re suffering too much here to start playing games about when and where I won’t play 300 — 301 at the MCG will do me just nicely, I’ll go over there (to Adelaide) with the boys’.

"As I said, I’ll think no less of him if he says ‘no, I’ll take the rest’. But, in the overall scheme of it, 300 in Adelaide and it’ll be the greatest 301st game ever, because he’s done all that (won the big awards)."

Martin will become the seventh player in the history of the club to break the 300-game barrier when he next takes the field for Richmond. And the coincidental nature of Martin's illness has been called out by the AFL world as rumours had been circulating for weeks that the Tigers were set to rest their star player so he could play his milestone match in Melbourne.

The Tigers were understood to be desperate to make the landmark occasion perfect by manipulating their three-time Norm Smith medallist's workload to ensure he celebrates it at his MCG home. And fans haven't bought the 'sick' reason for his absence against the Crows, with many believing that the club had planned for him to sit out the trip to Adelaide for many weeks.

Martin is in the last season of the famous seven-year, multimillion-dollar deal he signed ahead of the 2017 finals series. In that time, Martin played a pivotal role in the Tigers' golden dynasty between 2017 and 2020, during which time he won a Brownlow and three Norm Smith medals.

In those premiership years he formed an elite partnership with Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Alex Rance, David Astbury, Kane Lambert and Bachar Houli. However, Martin is one of the only remaining Tigers from that premiership-winning period and the general consensus is that he could call time on his incredible career any game now.

In 2024, Martin is averaging less than 20 disposals a game, compared to his career average of 24.4 and with the club likely needing at least a few years to rebuild under new coach Adam Yze, his former teammate, Cotchin, previously said that he believes Martin will likely not play beyond this year.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24: Dustin Martin of the Tigers celebrates with the AFL Premiership Cup and captain Trent Cotchin of the Tigers after winning the 2020 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on October 24, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Dustin Martin's former teammate Trent Cotchin believes the veteran forward will retire at the end of the year.

"He’s definitely capable of it (playing on) — I just don’t know if, (given) the place he is in right now, whether he’s got the energy to do so,” Cotchin said on Talking Footy last month. "It’s hard to comment too far on what he’s going through, but since his old man passed away, it’s been a challenge for Dusty.

"Probably getting himself right is the absolute priority, and I know that the club’s helping him with that. So, to put such a commitment on someone who needs to get himself at his best is a big call and going to be challenging."

Martin is yet to publicly announce a decision for next year. He has been linked to a move north to Gold Coast since Damien Hardwick’s appointment as Suns coach last year. And the consensus is the Tigers are unlikely to offer him a new deal, leading many to believe that this will quite likely be his final year in the AFL.