It is still 50 or so days to the opening of the 2021 AFL men’s season, although we have the AFLW to enjoy in the meantime.
Beware the wounded Tiger.
Richmond superstar Dustin Martin had a rare off day in a 10-point win against North Melbourne, but Damien Hardwick fully expects him to come out firing against West Coast.
Even AFL superstars can learn a lesson here and there and Martin has food for thought after he became master tagger Ben Jacobs’ latest scalp.
The Brownlow Medal winner was kept to just 16 possessions by Jacobs, who has bested the likes of Tom Mitchell, Luke Parker and Robbie Gray this season.
“Dusty was probably beaten, there’s no doubt. Jacobs has done some really good jobs on some good players,” coach Damien Hardwick said.
“(Dusty) had some opportunities up forward, he just didn’t quite get the bounce of the ball today. He’ll learn from it and get better.
“He’s had one of his quieter ones but he’ll bounce back against a good side next week versus West Coast.”
But even though Martin didn’t rack up the stats and hit the scoreboard as he can, he still found a way to influence the game late.
He was redeployed up forward in the last quarter and had a hand in Trent Cotchin’s pivotal goal then found Dan Butler, who kicked the last goal of the contest.
“He’s such an important player for us and the great thing about it is when he’s not working in the midfield I can throw him up forward, and that’s a bonus for me as well,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick’s men will face the Eagles in a top-of-the-table clash at Optus Stadium on Sunday after both sides continued their winning ways in round eight.
Adam Simpson’s second-placed team defeated GWS by 25 points at Spotless Stadium to make it seven wins in a row and improve to a 7-1 record.
Richmond, top of the ladder by percentage after winning their sixth match on the trot, will visit Perth’s new stadium for the first time.
“It’s a great venue … you only have to sit and watch it on TV to see the cauldron-like atmosphere,” Hardwick said.
“West Coast were outstanding (against the Giants) with a depleted line-up, they get one or two guys back this week and we look forward to the challenge.”