Forward thinking? Hardwick’s big Dusty call
Dustin Martin will again have carte blanche to push forward and wreak maximum destruction after tearing apart Brisbane with his six-goal qualifying final haul.
Tigers captain Trent Cotchin revealed on Sunday that Martin was given his own head about deciding when to play as a bulldozing midfielder or lethal small forward during games.
No player has kicked more than the six goals he poured on against the Lions since Lance Franklin's eight goals in the 2008 qualifying final.
Against the Lions he played 58 per cent of game time forward as he cashed in on a match-up against Marcus Adams, with Tom Lynch dragging Harris Andrews away from the action.
That move appeared more by design but Cotchin said Martin would likely dictate where he played against Geelong.
"It is a question you have to ask Dimma (Damien Hardwick). Dusty is pretty good at both. It's the beauty of his talent, that he can impact games in a number of positions," he said.
It is typically most of the time a decision (Martin makes).
"There might be a call from the box or a suggestion from a player if they are game enough."
Martin has averaged only 41 per cent of game time as a forward this year, tending to start in the centre square then eventually push forward.
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A favourable match-up can keep him in the forward line longer than planned, with the Cats sure to tag him with in-form midfielder Cam Guthrie.
He and Scott Selwood took responsibility for Martin in the 2017 preliminary final, keeping him to 14 possessions and little influence to half time.
He exploded after half time and finished with 12 score involvements and 157 ranking points.
Martin had hit the wall physically and emotionally by this time last year, injured leading into the preliminary final and the season having taken its toll.
But this year after a slower start to the year he feels at his physical peak, desperately motivated to repeat the 2017 premiership heroics.