Richmond have chosen to risk leaving Dustin Martin trapped in New Zealand by allowing the sidelined superstar to visit his dad.
Richmond have chosen to risk leaving Dustin Martin trapped in New Zealand by allowing the sidelined superstar to travel across the ditch to see his dad.
Martin is out of action after suffering a concussion in Richmond’s defeat to Melbourne on Sunday.
The three-time Norm Smith medallist is also dealing with a foot injury and won’t feature in Friday night’s match against the Western Bulldogs, but he’s expected to return to face Geelong in Round Eight.
Martin will visit his dad Shane Martin, who in 2016 was deported from Australia to New Zealand for his involvement in bikie gangs, in line with the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
The pair haven’t seen each other in more than a year.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said the club had weighed up the risks associated with Martin travelling to New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic, but had concluded that allowing the Brownlow medallist to share time with his dad would be worth the potential fall-out.
“It’s a no-brainer for us,” Hardwick told reporters.
“He’ll head back to see his dad. He hasn’t seen him for a long period of time.
“It’s a little bit like everyone else; he’s travelling back to see his dad, who just happens to be overseas.
“I know it’s a little bit challenging with these COVID times, but we’ll always support our player who wants to see his family.”
The trans-Tasman bubble allows residents of Australia and New Zealand to travel between the countries without having to quarantine.
But it could be shut down if there’s an outbreak of the coronavirus in either country.
“All the contingencies have been worked through but there is a very, very small probability that it happens,” Hardwick said.
“At the end of the day, you can live your life in fear or you can choose to live. We choose to live.”
Martin was concussed when he was collected by a stray arm at a third-quarter stoppage in the Demons clash, which ended his 250th game on a sour note.
The four-time All Australian isn’t allowed to compete in this week’s match against the Bulldogs due to the AFL’s new 12-day concussion protocol.
Richmond won just three of their first six games of the season, falling to Sydney, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, and now sit seventh on the ladder.
Martin began the season in tremendous fashion, tallying 31 touches and two goals in Round One before recording 28 disposals and a goal in Round Two, but his form since has been patchy.
Hardwick indicated that Martin’s foot injury was a factor in his dip in form, saying it had affected his explosiveness.
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes told Nine’s Footy Classified this week that Richmond captain Trent Cotchin must lift in Martin’s absence.
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