Dusty focusing on another Tigers flag — with no asterisk

Australia World

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin is adamant a third AFL premiership would mean just as much as the first two — even if it comes during the coronavirus-affected 2020 season.

The Tigers’ flag defence was put on hold in March after just one round because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Richmond have not won back-to-back premierships since 1974 and are aiming to hold the trophy aloft for the third time in four seasons to cement their spot as one of the great modern-day sides.

Even with the fixture list slashed to 17 rounds, quarters shortened and fans indefinitely barred from attending games, Martin believes winning a grand final would still be a significant achievement.

“It’s certainly going to be different but it will certainly mean just as much,” the two-time Norm Smith medallist said.

“And who knows, we might be playing in front of people in a few months.

“That goes right across the league.”

While relishing a return to Punt Road for training on Monday, the 28-year-old made the most of his more than six weeks away from football.

A male Richmond AFL player kicks the ball in front of an empty grandstand at the MCG.

A male Richmond AFL player kicks the ball in front of an empty grandstand at the MCG.

Dustin Martin will be happy to get back to football, but the Tigers star has enjoyed his downtime.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

“I really enjoyed the downtime, to be honest,” Martin said.

“Life gets pretty busy a lot of the time, so it was good to just slow down and simplify life a little bit.”

Boasting an experienced group, many of whom have featured in six of the last seven finals series, Richmond’s players knew the high standards expected of them from coach Damien Hardwick while in lockdown.

“Our older guys are good at checking in on the younger guys,” Martin said.

“It wasn’t over the top, just every now and then to ensure everyone’s fine.

“[Hardwick] has great trust in the group, which we’ve built over the years, so all the boys attacked their training really well.”

AAP

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