Martin inspiring hurt Tigers in AFL

Ed Jackson
Dustin Martin is helping keep Richmond's AFL title defence on track, coach Damien Hardwick says

Richmond may have several premiership stars unavailable but the presence of their brightest star in Dustin Martin is keeping their 2020 AFL season on track.

Despite a tight tag by North Melbourne's Luke McDonald in Saturday's match at Metricon Stadium, Martin was able to play a big part in the Tigers' 54-point victory over the Kangaroos.

The Brownlow Medal winner kicked two goals and seven score involvements for the Tigers as the premiers climbed to fourth on the ladder.

The Tigers' form is despite captain Trent Cotchin (hamstring), Dion Prestia (ankle) and Toby Nankervis (ankle) all being injured and Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards opting not to enter the Queensland hub.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said Martin's ability to take on an even more influential role was symbolic of the superstar's winning mentality and team spirit.

"He provided opportunities for us, created two-v-ones, that's a growth in his game, that's a sign of a leader," Hardwick said.

"That's how far this kid's come in his football career, you know it's not about him.

"He just loves that W at the end of the night, that's what he's all about."

Hardwick will rely on Martin's inspiration again next Friday when the Tigers face GWS in a rematch of last year's grand final.

Cotchin is unlikely to be risked against the Giants while Prestia, Nankervis, Houli and Edwards will still be unavailable.

Throw in Josh Caddy's absence after he injured his hamstring against the Kangaroos and Hardwick knows Martin will again be forced to stand tall against the Giants.

"That's what great players do, they make their teammates better," Hardwick said

"Yeah he's won everything, but what he does, he just loves winning, and he'll do everything to win within his power to help us as a side.

"That's been his growth in this footy club. He's had a lot of help with Trent but at the end of the day, Dustin's wanted to do it and he'll continue to grow with that."