Martin back as Tigers tackle St Kilda

25 June 2020 19:28:56 GMTPlus10

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick feels Dustin Martin will be able to return to action strongly, after missing a week with rib soreness.

The dual Brownlow medallist is one of up to four changes to the side that lost to Hawthorn last week.

Liam Baker will also play against St Kilda on Saturday, after returning home briefly to Western Australia for personal reasons.

The Tigers, who have won two of the last three Grand Finals, started the season with a 24-point win over Carlton but since the campaign resumed they have drawn with Collingwood and then gone down to the Hawks by 32 points.

Speaking of Martin, Hardwick said: "I think the week off no doubt helped him. From our point of view, it was always touch and go last week but he's such an important player to the way we play - we just want to make sure he's right.

"He's a bit of a barometer for us as well, so we need to make sure we're giving him the best chance to play to the very best of his ability.

"It was just a rotational-type thing - ribs are really difficult at various stages. There are some times when you can numb the pain and then there are times when you can't quite get the spot."

Hardwick has defended triple Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt, after he has averaged fewer than eight disposals so far this season and has kicked only three goals.

"Once again, our ball movement will certainly help," said the coach. "People are quick to jump on a champion's back - people forget he kicked five goals in the Grand Final, on the biggest stage on earth, so he's a very good player.

"The key forwards, in general, have been struggling throughout the league at the moment, so we're not too worried about it. The sky's certainly not falling down, from our point of view."

Richmond are 7/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Tigers are 9/25 to win their next game against St Kilda, who are 23/10.

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