AFL nice Luke Hodge has steered the time is correct for Dustin Martin to settle for the slow transition away from being Richmond’s huge canine in the center.
That, although, doesn’t equal an expectation that the 30-year-old has misplaced any type of edge – removed from it.
Martin confronted a tricky highway again to full well being in the off-season after struggling a lacerated kidney in a collision with Brisbane hardman Mitch Robinson final 12 months.
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An acre between the midfielders closed up inside a matter of footsteps, sending Martin crashing to the turf in a method he has prevented for a lot of his 260-game profession.
“I think you just look at how Dusty attacks things – he knows that that’s a part of football,” he advised 7NEWS.com.au.
“He goes in there hard. Normally when he hits blokes they get injured, this time it was a freak contact.
“It didn’t look like it was much but it just got him right in the sweet spot. If you run into Mitch Robinson, arms and knees are going everywhere.”
Richmond held on for victory that night time on the Gabba, ending a four-game win streak to sit simply exterior the eight on proportion, however Martin was the newest in a flurry of accidents that doomed their finals probabilities.
With their first prolonged pre-season since 2016 now full, Hodge believes the Tigers retain the right combination to attain September in 2022.
Shai Bolton grew to become the reply when Dion Prestia went down earlier in the season whereas Riley Collier-Dawkins, Liam Baker and Jack Ross all stand to develop into expanded roles this 12 months.
So what turns into of their all-conquering Brownlow medallist and three-time Norm Smith Medal winner?
Hodge solely wanted to look to Trent Cotchin, who has skilled his personal transformation this season by giving up the captaincy, reshaping his sport to realise what’s potential for Martin.
“(Richmond coach Damien Hardwick) knows if they need goals you can put him at full forward and clear out the forward line,” the Channel 7 AFL commentator mentioned.
“And I think you get to the stage in your career where you don’t have to be in the middle getting all the clearances. You can rely on other people.
“I remember Cotch clearly made that decision a few years ago when he saw Dusty coming through. Cotch went from having 30 to 35 touches a game to having 20 to 25, but as a leader it was more impactful for Richmond because he was letting Dusty go in there.
“(Cotchin) was there as a safeguard and a bit more of a defensive midfielder, playing the team role like senior guys should do at times.
“I think Dusty’s at that age now where he knows that he doesn’t have to be in the middle. He can play forward, he can rest forward, he can give some responsibility to the younger midfielders.
“They’ve got pretty much a full list back. I wouldn’t be surprised – yes, you’ll see Dusty start in the middle and try to dominate, but you’re also going to see him resting forward at times because he can turn a game with two or three goals.”
Martin, who took day without work in the course of the pre-season to mourn the sudden demise of his father Shane, has been backed in for spherical one after overcoming a minor hip challenge in February.
Watch the AFL stay and free on Seven as spherical one continues with Richmond-Carlton from 7pm AEDT
Luke Hodge’s 2022 AFL predictions
Grand last: Port Adelaide v Melbourne
Picket spoon: Gold Coast Suns
Brownlow Medal: Clayton Oliver
Coleman Medal: Charlie Dixon
Rising Star: Jason Horne-Francis
First-time All Australian: Hugh McCluggage