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Richmond not willing to rush Dustin Martin back from personal leave


Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says there is no timetable on when Dustin Martin will return after the Brownlow Medallist missed his side’s round two clash due to personal reasons.

Martin has struggled since the loss of his father Shane during the summer, and his coach said the 30-year-old would be given all the time he needs before he returns for his next AFL game after he was a late scratch for round two.

“Dustin Martin is a wonderful player. Do we want to see him play? Yeah. But also, it is what it is. It’s a personal issue, and we leave it at that,” Hardwick told reporters after his side’s 36-point win over the GWS Giants.

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“Dustin has repaid this club 10 times over.”

Hardwick said he had “no clarity” on when Martin would be back in his line-up.

“It’s a personal issue, and we’ll just leave it at that, and we’ll work our way through it,” he said.

Despite being hit with a spate of injuries, the Tigers were in control for the majority of the afternoon against the Giants, with Jayden Short (33 disposals) and Noah Balta (four goals) the leading lights.

Hardwick said Tigers co-captain Dylan Grimes would return for next week’s clash against St Kilda, while Dion Prestia and Jack Riewoldt were also outside chances of returning if declared fit to play.

“I was really happy with the players I had in the side, so there are going to be some hungry players,” he said.

“It’s tough to make changes. Don’t get me wrong, those guys are really good players, but we’re really happy with the guys and what they did.”

It was a brutal afternoon for the Giants, who lost veteran defender Phil Davis to what looks to be a serious hamstring injury in the final minutes of the second quarter.

Davis, who could potentially be in the last year of his career, tore his left hamstring while making a desperate dive in an attempt to stop Balta from kicking a goal.

He wasn’t the only casualty either, with Daniel Lloyd suffering an arm injury after a brutal collision with teammate Jake Riccardi in the opening term.

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