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Players and staff had NO IDEA Dustin Martin was returning to Tigers

Teammates and staff ‘had NO IDEA’ Dustin Martin was returning to Richmond after taking indefinite break from the game to grieve for his dad

Dustin Martin didn’t just give Tigers fans a pleasant surprise when he returned to training to end his indefinite break from the game – his teammates and Richmond staff were also in the dark, it has been reported.

Martin was last with the team for their round one loss to Carlton on March 17, but came back to Punt Road on Saturday morning to begin getting ready for a return to the field. 

His appearance at team headquarters caught his teammates and Richmond staff completely unaware, according to the Herald Sun.

The three-time premiership winner did some running and training in the gym and looked to be in good shape, the report added.

The superstar’s fellow players and Tigers staff had no idea he was going to walk through the door on Saturday morning, it has been reported (pictured, Martin at pre-season training)

The Tigers are remaining tight-lipped about when Martin (pictured training in the club gym) could return to the field

The Tigers are remaining tight-lipped about when Martin (pictured training in the club gym) could return to the field 

Martin’s surprise return is a timely boost as the Tigers struggle to build momentum early in the AFL season.

Richmond are 2-3 and coming off an upset loss to Adelaide.

Richmond have made no official comment on Martin’s status and it remains unclear when he might be ready to play again.

Martin spent time in Sydney during his break and was also spotted at a friend’s wedding in Melbourne, and a Port Melbourne gym, before resurfacing with the Tigers.

The 30-year-old midfielder is grieving the loss of his father Shane, who died last December, and he has also returned from a lacerated kidney in round 18 last season that ended his season prematurely.

Richmond are sitting at 2-3 and struggling for form so the three-time premiership hero is desperately needed - but the club has given every indication he won't be rushed back

Richmond are sitting at 2-3 and struggling for form so the three-time premiership hero is desperately needed – but the club has given every indication he won’t be rushed back

The 2017 Brownlow Medallist and three-time Norm Smith Medallist is one of Richmond’s most important players and they have clearly have missed him this season.

The Tigers have not put any time frame on Martin’s return, but top club official Neil Balme said earlier this month it was ‘just a matter of when’.

Earlier this week, coach Damien Hardwick was hopeful about his No.1 star player.

‘We’re reluctant to provide a running commentary but what we do know is he’s in a better space,’ Hardwick said.

‘When we know more we certainly will give you guys more information but at this stage it’s the same as it has been.’

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