Hilarious moment Richmond coach Damien Hardwick pranks TV hosts as they try to nail him down about whether superstar Dustin Martin is playing in do-or-die final against Lions
- Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was coy on whether Dustin Martin will play
- Tigers midfielder, 31, has been out after straining his hamstring in early July
- Appearing on Fox Footy on Tuesday, Hardwick initially avoided the question
- Martin is expected to play in a huge boost for Richmond in week one of finals
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick showed his experience as a head coach when he was pressed on the availability of superstar Dustin Martin for the team’s elimination semi-final on Thursday against Brisbane.
The three-time premiership-winning coach appeared on Fox Footy on Tuesday night, and was probed about whether ‘Dusty’ will play at the Gabba was asked by journalist Mark Robinson.
Martin, 31, hasn’t laced his boots since straining his hamstring against West Coast on July 3.
In hilarious scenes, Hardwick feigned answering the question on many people’s lips but was on mute, leaving co-hosts Gerard Whateley and Robinson utterly perplexed on the live cross.
A cheeky Hardwick then revealed he had switched off his audio deliberately.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was coy initially on Fox Footy when pressed on the availability of superstar Dustin Martin for the clash versus Brisbane on Thursday
Robinson saw the funny side of the gag, stating: ‘You smarta***!’
Hardwick eventually addressed the topic when he said Martin would ‘play a different role’ in the winner-takes-all clash.
‘He will play predominantly forward. We know he’s played that role before and he’s quite capable,’ he said.
‘Against Brisbane he’s had some really good games like that. What we do know is that players of Dustin’s ilk put themselves where they need to be.
‘I’ve said this often as a coach, the very best players have got a great understanding of where to put themselves at the best of times.’
As Robinson pointed out, September is when Martin excels.
Martin, 31, has been out injured after straining his hamstring against West Coast on July 3
Martin’s three Norm Smith Medals from three grand final triumphs is proof there is no better big game player in the sport
Having won flags with the Tigers in 2017, 2019 and 2020 he performs better than anyone at the business end of the season.
His three Norm Smith Medals as best on ground from three grand final triumphs is proof there is no better big game player in the sport.
Meanwhile, despite the lingering threat of Martin’s return, the Lions won’t be daunted if he features on the Tigers team sheet.
‘It’s always great to have elite players back in the game,’ Lions forward Lincoln McCarthy said.
‘He’s had a long lay-off with a ‘hammy’, so we’re just excited. Finals hopefully bring out the best in teams and bring out some really good football to watch and he’s another player that the fans love to see out there.
‘We just hope that he (Martin) doesn’t have too good a night.’