Dustin Martin is spotted at a mate’s wedding as his indefinite leave from Richmond continues while he deals with grief over father’s death
Richmond star Dustin Martin made his first public appearance since taking indefinite leave from football for personal reasons.
The three-time Norm Smith medal winner was spotted at a wedding at the Port Melbourne Yacht Club last Saturday, to celebrate the marriage of BoxingFit boss Mick Hargraves and his partner Vicky Sim.
Martin attended the ceremony with long-time friend and former West Coast Eagles player Michael Gardiner.
Dustin Martin attended the wedding of Mick Hargraves and his partner Vicky Sim last week
The 30-year-old is reportedly struggling following the death of his father Shane, who died of heart attack in December at the age of 54 in his native New Zealand.
He was deported from Australia in 2016 on the grounds of bad character and was a member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang and Covid-19 restrictions meant Martin could not be with him at the time of his passing.
Social media posts showed Martin in good spirits and surrounded by some of his closest friends as he continues to work through a difficult spell in his life.
Dustin Martin has taken indefinite leave from football due to personal reasons
Martin is reportedly struggling to come to terms with the death of his father Shane (pictured together) who died in his native New Zealand in December last year
The gun midfielder was ruled out of the Tigers’ 109-73 win over GWS in Round 2 and no timeline has been set for his return.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 earlier this week, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said Martin needed to recover from a mental standpoint.
‘I think Dustin’s taking his time to figure out what he needs to move forward,’ he explained.
‘And as we’ve spoken about, he’s had a really tough six months, none tougher than what he’s had to deal with, first with the injury and then with the loss of his father. He just needs some time to heal.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick (right) admitted there was not set date for Martin’s return
But insisted the Tigers will give the three-time premiership winner all the time he needs
‘Grief is really like an injury, there’s no two ways about it, you have to get some treatment to make yourself heal, and he’s just taking the time to do that.’
Hardwick added the Tigers were prepared to allow the three-time premiership winner to be away from the club for as long as he felt necessary.
‘His father was incredibly close to him, obviously from a parent point of view, but also his best mate so it was going to take some time, and we’re prepared to give him that,’ he said.
‘He’s such an important part of the fabric of our football club. We miss him, but not on the footy field, just in the club.’
Richmond poured cold water on speculations Martin may walk away from football for good. However, on Monday, Hardwick conceded there was ‘no set date’ for the three-time premiership winner’s return.
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