AFL superstar Dustin Martin takes personal leave from Richmond, may miss GWS clash

Richmond star Dustin Martin is taking time away from the AFL club and is in doubt for their match against GWS on Sunday.

Martin was a notable absentee from Thursday’s run at Punt Rd and has not been at the club since Monday’s match review, missing their Tuesday training session.

Coach Damien Hardwick said Martin was taking time away from the club because of personal issues.

Martin’s father Shane died last December in New Zealand.

NZ Police said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Months earlier Richmond granted Dustin Martin permission to fly overseas to visit his father when the travel bubble opened.

The pair shared a close bond but had not seen each other for 12 months prior to that visit because of travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a massive challenge, but it is what it is,” Martin told Fox Footy in March.

“I love my dad and he’s made me the man I am today.

“I’ve got full belief he’ll (be) back here to watch us win another flag.

“That’s my dream to be able to have the old man up there (in the grandstand) with the rest of my family and watch the Tiges win another flag.”

Time for a shift: Hodge
AFL great Luke Hodge has suggested the time is right for Dustin Martin to accept the slow transition away from being Richmond’s big dog in the middle.

That, though, does not equal an expectation that the 30-year-old has lost any kind of edge – far from it.

Martin faced a tough road back to full health in the off-season after suffering a lacerated kidney in a collision with Brisbane hardman Mitch Robinson last year.

“I think you just look at how Dusty attacks things – he knows that that’s a part of football,” he said.