Last Saturday we all heard the news that Dustin Martin had suffered kidney damage and was out for the rest of the season.
Almost everyone said the Tigers are done.
In my opinion they’re overreacting, here’s why.
After Round 12, Richmond was 7-5, still not great figures for a club that has won three of the last four flags, but still top eight standard. The last five games have been where it’s all gone wrong, winning only one of the last five although that one win was against Brisbane last Friday.
So seeing as it’s Dustin Martin that will apparently pull the plug on Richmond’s season, let’s compare him from Rounds 1-12 to Rounds 13-18 with five simple stats, Disposals, Clearances, Inside 50s, Disposal Efficiency and Score Involvements
Dustin Martin Rounds 1-12
23.5 disposals P/G
3.5 clearances P/G
5.5 Inside 50s P/G
66.4per cent Disposal Efficiency
6.4 Score Involvements P/G
Dustin Martin Rounds 13-18
20.4 Disposals P/G
3.8 Clearances P/G
4.6 Inside 50s P/G
66.5per cent Disposal Efficiency
5 Score Involvements P/G
We can see that Martin hasn’t had the ball as much, and he hasn’t been as involved in the forward line either, although his clearances and disposal efficiency stats have gone up. I certainly don’t think this is the difference between a top eight team and a bottom four team as Richmond have been in their past five matches.
Dustin Martin hasn’t been Richmond’s standout player this season in the first place, he’s currently predicted to win the most Brownlow votes as per the AFL Brownlow Predictor, but I don’t know how accurate that is.
It’s been Jayden Short who’s been winning the ball the most, which isn’t something you want your defender to be doing, but he’s been very efficient with it.
And it’s Shai Bolton that has been the player clearing the ball out of the middle assisting goals to Jack Riewoldt who is currently second in the race for the Coleman Medal.
Although I understand that losing a quality player is going to do damage to any club’s season, and they’ll need someone to fill the role
Looking at the Tigers’ injury list, they still have Dion Prestia to come back into the side. Yes, he’s a different build to Dusty, but in the five matches he’s played this season, not including Richmond’s Round 3 match against Sydney where Prestia only played about ten minutes, he has 23 touches per game, five clearances, 3.2 inside 50s, has a 73.9 per cent disposal efficiency, and 5.8 score involvements per game.
He should be 1-2 weeks away from recovering from his hamstring injury
They’ll also be getting Bachar Houli back from injury if they’re lucky (He’s expected to be out for 3-5 weeks) which will give Richmond some extra protection in defence.
He is leading the club’s marks tally and also doesn’t give away many free kicks of which Richmond have given away way too many this season, more than any club in fact.
So, the Tigers currently sit just outside the top eight, only on percentage. Looking at their run home, they have Geelong (A), Fremantle (A), North Melbourne (H), GWS (A) and Hawthorn (A)
They’d be expected to defeat Hawthorn and North Melbourne, and probably won’t beat Geelong. But games against GWS and Fremantle could go either way.
Fremantle aren’t in great form after losing by 69 points to Geelong at home and are unlucky to beat Sydney who are coming off a Sydney Derby win.
And GWS are coming off two losses in a row with an ever-growing injury list. That game is extremely unlikely to be in Sydney as well.
Everyone seems to have ruled Richmond out due to Dustin Martin’s injury, but they’re coming off a win and when looking at the stats, injury list and their run home, I don’t think Dusty’s injury will have as big of an impact as people think, and they’ll 100 per cent be in the finals race come Round 23.