Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says he expects Dustin Martin to make an impact in Thursday night’s elimination final against the Brisbane Lions despite not being fully fit.
- Martin has been sidelined with a hamstring injury
- Hardwick says he feels Martin is at “80 per cent” fitness
- Shai Bolton will also play for the Tigers against the Lions
Hardwick confirmed Martin would play in the Gabba clash, which will be his first match in almost two months.
The three-time Norm Smith medallist missed the final seven matches of the home-and-away season due to a hamstring injury.
Veteran Shane Edwards has been omitted to make way for Martin.
“He’s (Martin) a certain starter. He did everything we asked,” Hardwick told a media conference at the Gabba.
“It’s been a bit of a delayed prep but he has turned the corner the last three weeks, so we can’t wait for him to play.”
Hardwick said he had no concerns about Martin playing without the benefit of recent match fitness.
“He’s not going to be 100 per cent but he will probably be 80 per cent, which is good enough,” he said.
Hardwick said Martin was in the right frame of mind ahead of the sudden-death match.
“He’s pumped, he’s trained really well,” he said.
“We look forward to him making an impact tomorrow night.”
Hardwick said Shai Bolton would also play against the Lions, despite sitting out the Tigers’ final training session.