Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has revealed if superstar Dustin Martin is up for selection after returning to training.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was noncommittal on the possibility of Dustin Martin returning for the team’s must-win clash against West Coast in Perth on Friday night after a surprise return to training on Saturday after a month of leave for personal problems.
Hardwick said it was “nice” to see Martin back at the club and that the group of players got a boost from his impromptu visit as rumors swirled about the 30-year-old’s future as his break from play dragged on.
But while triple medalist Norm Smith’s return to training fueled the mood at Punt Road, Hardwick didn’t commit to the possibility of Martin returning to face the Eagles after the Tigers dropped to 12th on the ladder following the Sunday’s loss to Melbourne, their fourth in the top six. season games.
“I can not tell you. I’m not sure,” Hardwick said after Richmond’s 22-point loss to Melbourne on Sunday night.
“Once we know, you will know.”
While Martin’s status for the trip through Nullarbor remains unclear, Hardwick was hopeful that Kane Lambert would be fit to play his first match of the year after overcoming a hip injury.
“We’ll try to get him through training and see how he does,” Hardwick said.
“He just didn’t feel comfortable enough, and didn’t look comfortable enough, last week and he had a training block, I think he’s going to have a race tomorrow and try to show his fitness.
“We have a very short session planned, so we have to make a call one way or another pretty early.”
The young Thomson Dow will almost certainly not be able to make the trip to WA after suffering a cork for the second week in a row in the same spot on his thigh.
Hardwick said it was important for the Tigers to “pick up the pieces and move on” after their most recent loss that left their season teetering precariously at 2-4.
The triple-premier trainer said the Devils taught his “gun-shy” side a lesson about the contest.
“Sometimes we have an uncanny ability to lose a contest when we have superior numbers,” Hardwick said.
The Tigers again trailed the free throw count 26-18, with Hardwick saying his players needed to improve their tackling technique.
“We give away too many (sic) things at head height, I think within 50 it was a free kick for us and seven (on our) D50 that take the pressure off right away,” he said.
“Our technique in those contests is lacking, we certainly have to improve it and we have to improve because I think you’ll probably find that the vast majority were probably there, we just have to make sure we’ll eradicate as many as we can.”
Originally published as AFL 2022: Richmond coach Damien Hardwick reveals when Dustin Martin could return