Richmond super star Dustin Martin will make his eagerly-anticipated AFL return versus Collingwood, with coach Damien Hardwick stating the Tigers were never ever worried he would retire.
Hardwick verified if Martin survived training on Thursday he would be a starter for Saturday’s clash at the MCG, 2 weeks after he recommenced training. The triple Standard Smith medallist has actually not played given that round one after taking individual leave.
” We’re anticipating inviting him back and ideally he has an effect for us on the weekend, which we make sure he will,” Hardwick stated. “He’s going to be not at his ideal, however he’s definitely trained fairly hard, as difficult as he might without remaining in a group environment.
” We’re happily amazed by how he’s moving and how he’s running so far. However we’re playing among the hardest video games on the planet, so we’ll level our expectations, we’ll simply put him out there and see how he goes. At 50% Dustin Martin’s still a respectable gamer on our books.”
Martin has actually been grieving the death of his daddy Shane, who passed away in New Zealand in December, having actually gone back to action this season from a lacerated kidney that ended his 2021 project in round 18.
” Not from our perspective [we weren’t worried he wouldn’t come back],” Hardwick stated. “He remains in a great area however it resembles anybody that’s had a loss of their finest mate and their daddy, there’ll be ups and downs.
” We support him, we comprehend that and we’ll continue to offer assistance where we require. He’s continued to deal with what he requires to get the best out of himself, however it’s challenging for individuals that have actually gone through such occasions. So we simply cover our arms around him as finest we can and permit him the area and time he requires.”
The 30-year-old gone back to training at Punt Roadway on 23 April. Hardwick stated Martin was looking fit and formerly “put his hand up” to return a week previously, versus West Coast last Friday. Martin eventually missed out on the 109-point demolition of the Eagles however finished a huge session at Punt Roadway that day.
” Simply him strolling in the door recently was a considerable increase to our club and ideally we’ll get the very same effect when he strolls on the hallowed grass of the ‘G today in front of our fans,” Hardwick stated.
Martin’s return is prompt. Richmond, who are 3-4, sit ninth and one ladder area behind intense competitors Collingwood, who are 4-3 in their very first season under previous Tigers VFL employer Craig McRae. Former captain Trent Cotchin is because of return after being handled however Dion Prestia is “uncertain” after disease, in addition to being replaced out recently.
On the other hand, dual-premiership Tiger Josh Caddy has actually retired, efficient instantly. Hardwick stated after persistent hamstring issues, the “generous” 29-year-old had actually retired to offer the Tigers an extra list area for the mid-season draft. Caddy played 174 AFL video games for Gold Coast, Geelong and Richmond however none this season. He played in the development 2017 premiership and declared a 2nd flag in 2019.