Dusty fends for himself
YOU can’t numbers.
Richmond superstar Dustin Martin has smashed the broken-tackles record for one season, with 82 ahead of today’s premiership decider.
Daylight comes in second, followed by Cats champ Patrick Dangerfield on 26.
Martin has dished out 160 of his legendary “don’t argues” since the start of 2014 — miles clear of the second-best tackle breaker over that time, Western Bulldog Jake Stringer (86). Dusty registered eight broken tackles alone in last week’s preliminary final triumph against GWS.
The Brownlow Medallist said he wasn’t sure when he first developed his steel-arm fend-off.
“It was under-18s I suppose, that’s when I started using it a little bit,” Martin said at yesterday’s AFL Grand Final parade.
“I get asked about the ‘don’t argue’ all the time, but it’s just a natural instinct I suppose if someone is in the way.”
Asked if he was nervous playing in the Tigers’ first Grand Final since 1982, Martin said: “I haven’t thought about the game too much, I’m just soaking it all up and enjoying it. Obviously, we’ve got a massive supporter base, so it’s awesome.”
Richmond’s 2017 resurgence has been remarkable. The Tigers lost their final game last season against Sydney at the SCG by 113 points and were rated a $67 chance at the start of the year to win the flag.
Martin said the turnaround was based on a bit of tinkering, some hard work and close relationships.
“The club had a bit of a refresh over the summer, we got some new people in and everyone was just hungry to get better and obviously it’s paid off and it’s good,” he said.
Martin said the impact of skipper Trent Cotchin on the group had been “huge”. argue with these
“He’s a great leader, a great friend and a good person.”
Martin’s teammate Jason Castagna has played all 24 games this season on a base salary of just $70,000. It’s a far cry from the $8 million-plus Martin will pocket across the next seven seasons, but Castagna said the playing group had never been more united.
“We didn’t have the season we wanted last year, but I think we really looked into the connection at the club and tried to build our relationships,” Castagna said.
“We were good friends but now we are a pretty strongknit group and it’s taken us a long way.”
Tigers midfielder Kane Lambert has travelled the hard road for his shot at premiership glory.
Lambert was overlooked in six national drafts and played at Preston and then Williamstown before winning a spot on the Tigers’ rookie list three years ago.
“It probably sits a bit uncomfortably for me sitting up here in front of all these people,” Lambert said yesterday.
“A mature-age rookie from Preston — it’s far from what I expected.
“But I am very, very grateful for the opportunity Richmond has given me and I’m hoping I can repay the faith.”
Martin said he had dished out about a dozen Grand Final tickets to friends and family, including former West Coast Eagles and St Kilda ruckman Michael Gardiner.
“The Big Show, there,” Martin said. he’ll be