Time to get dirty.
That’s Melbourne great Garry Lyon’s solution to curbing the influence of Dustin Martin who, on Tuesday night, was crowned the 2017 AFL MVP.
The accolades keep coming for the Richmond superstar and predicted Brownlow Medal winner.
And with Martin inking a seven-year deal to make him a one-club player at Tigerland and Richmond winning its first final since 2001 in the same week, the momentum for Martin and the Tigers appears unstoppable.
Case in point: Martin’s heroics against Geelong on Friday night at the MCG.
The 26-year-old turned the game on its head with an irresistible burst on either side of three-quarter time. Alarmingly, he had seven score involvements from his seven possessions.
And of course, Martin’s trademark fend-off was in full flight, leaving the likes of Cats defender Tom Stewart in his wake with ease.
Martin is a scary proposition when he’s at the top of his game. In fact, he’s untaggable.
And that’s why Lyon believes the next team to face Richmond – whether that be GWS or West Coast in the preliminary final – should try some alternative tactics.
“I think you’ve got to ask the question of Dusty to see whether his maturity is absolutely 100 per cent rounded out, and that is pick a fight with him,” Lyon said on SEN.
“I’m not saying go out and punch him and belt him, but niggle him to the point where his focus comes from this (getting the ball) to that.”
It’s a fine line to tread. But if Martin was to take the bait it could backfire spectacularly, with the Richmond superstar needing just one more fine to qualify for a one-match suspension.
Martin was fined twice after Richmond defeated Brisbane in Round 17, with Lions agitator Nick Robertson successfully provoking the midfielder.
Martin received a $1500 fine for making unnecessary contact to Robertson’s face, and he was also fined an addition $1000 for rough conduct against Lewis Taylor.
While Martin was visibly frustrated by the close attention he received from Robertson, it did little to stop his impact on the match.
Martin kicked two goals from 40 touches, as well as 14 clearances and 12 inside 50s in what will arguably be a three-vote match come Brownlow night.
– Fox Sports Australia