The picture was flipped on its head when Richmond Tigers announced that Dustin Martin would not play in a Round 3 match with Hawthorn Hawks.
Hawthorn won the game 71 – 39.
Dustin Martin is good, one of the best without doubt, but is he really worth the 32-point margin the Hawks posted on the Tigers in Round 3 of the Toyota 2020 AFL Premiership competition?
Dustin Martin has certainly scored above 32 points on occasions too frequent to mention, but if Richmond rely on him for all its points, they have trouble brewing.
Thirty-nine points is only marginally above the 25 to which Richmond held GWS in last season’s Grand Final.
Richmond made the announcement prior to the game left the bookies scrambling to adjust their prices, which is to be expected. Depending which bookie you consult, the Hawks came in about fifty cents and the Tigers lengthened a similar amount.
As reigning premiers over the past two seasons and three premierships out of the last four, it would have to be thought that Richmond could weather a game with Hawthorn without Dustin Martin.
Surely, some of the others must be doing something.
Expert observers of the AFL in general and the Tigers specifically have taken not that the club seems lethargic, not only in the game with Hawthorn, but also last week agasint the Collingwood Magpies, with a drawn result that is rare in the AFL.
The Tigers seem slow to start and while it is certainly understandable that some rust crept in while the club was on the virus halt, all the other clubs were also idle.
The Tigers’ defense was constantly under assault by the Hawks. Collingwood had control of the middle ground and created multiple opportunities for its forward group.
Once again, the Tigers were without a goal in the first quarter. They only had one kick, which makes it even more difficult for the defensive pace.
The Tigers have a nine-day spell before they play the formidable West Coast Eagles.