Richmond suspect champion midfielder Dustin Martin might benefit from being forced to miss Friday night’s clash against the undefeated Western Bulldogs after he was concussed during the Tigers 34-point loss to Melbourne.
Tigers’ coach Damien Hardwick said although the concussion was disappointing the enforced break might give Martin time to recover from a foot problem he has battled in recent weeks.
In revealing the foot injury Hardwick said it had reduced Martin’s power forcing him to play below his best in recent weeks.
“He has had some foot issues. They have not been significant but it has impacted him,” Hardwick said.
Under the League’s concussion protocols Martin will not be able to play for at least 12 days.Credit:
“Last week it was a little bit the same. In fairness although he is going to miss some time it might be the best thing for him.
“He is a proud man who would never put up his hand and complain but the fact of the matter is he hasn’t been his explosive best because of that. He will get better.“
Under the League’s concussion protocols Martin will not be able to play for at least 12 days having left the ground midway through the third quarter when he received a heavy knock to the head in a marking contest.
Richmond have now won three of the first six matches and are also likely to be without Kane Lambert against the Western Bulldogs after he was subbed out of the game with a calf injury.
Hardwick said key midfielder Dion Prestia would not be available after having a setback during the week with his calf injury while reliable defender Nick Vlastuin is yet to overcome the knee injury he suffered in round one.
“It’s tough. We’d love to be going better. There is no doubt about it, we would have loved to have won more games but we can only deal with the facts at hand,” Hardwick said.
“We are three and three, played some tough competition, we’ve got some injuries but we are going to move forward. You can sit there, look back and dwell or you can look to the future and see what it has got to offer.“
Hardwick said the injuries would create opportunities for players with the Tigers VFL team including players such as Riley Collier-Dawkins – who is yet to play a senior game – and ruckman Callum Coleman-Jones who are pushing for selection.
“It’s always a growth mindset for us and someone is getting the opportunity to play a couple of games. We just hope they put their hand up and make us better,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick said the team didn’t handle the conditions as well as Melbourne and succumbed at times to perceived pressure blowing chances to score.
“We gave away some undisciplined free kicks – I think four goals from free kicks – and it has been a constant [problem],” Hardwick said.
“It frustrates me and it frustrates us as a team so we just have to get that part of our game better.“
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