Sports

Dusty tipped to rise from slump, Tigers to miss Grimes

Dustin Martin famously put together one of the best individual seasons in the history of Australian Rules football in 2017, winning a premiership, a Brownlow Medal and a Norm Smith Medal.

In 2018, or at least for the past two games, his lofty output has dropped according to some, one of those being his coach Damien Hardwick, who says the champion's defensive work rate could be improved.

"I think defensively last week [in Richmond's drubbing against West Coast], he had eight pressure points which is below his level of expectation," Hardwick said on Friday.

"He's the first one to put up his hand. He said he didn't think that he did well enough.

"He'll tackle a lot better this week."

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It was rare to see Martin twice caught holding the ball in one quarter by Elliot Yeo against West Coast, and even stranger to see him held to 16 disposals by North Melbourne tagger Ben Jacobs the week before.

However Hardwick isn't worried. Martin is still having an impact, despite admitting he had been a victim of his high standards.

Martin has still been crucial in recent Richmond wins.

Photo: AAP

"Dustin's been okay," he said.

"He had a year that will be very hard for anyone to surpass and he's still a really important player for what he does."

What many forget is that against North Melbourne Martin provided two wonderful fourth quarter goal assists for his side in a game where he had three. The Tigers won that game by only 10 points thanks to a three-goal to two-goal final term.

The Tigers play the Saints on Saturday and should bounce back from the heavy loss to West Coast in Perth. They should beat the lowly Saints but the task has been made harder by the withdrawal of dependable defender Dylan Grimes. It is unclear why. Brandon Ellis returns to the 22 in his place having not played since round five.

Jason Castagna has been rested while Jacob Townsend and Sam Lloyd have been dropped. They've been replaced by young tall Callum Moore, Jack Higgins and Connor Menadue.

"The thing is with Callum, he's incredibly quick," Hardwick said.

"I think he's one of the quickest players at our club so once again, we pick a dynamic forward line."

Richmond's trademark pressure was down as a whole against West Coast but Hardwick has no doubt his side will bounce back.

"We're excited by the opportunity to improve from what we put out there last week … it's unlike out boys to be beaten in some of those contests," he said.

The coach said Richmond would continue to take a cautious approach with Dion Prestia's calf injury, meaning he was "doubtful" for next week's game against Essendon.

Anthony Colangelo

Anthony Colangelo is a sports and breaking news reporter at The Age

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