Author Topic: Hardwick has been able to find a weakness in Dustin Martin’s game (H-Sun)  (Read 133 times)

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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has been able to find a weakness in Dustin Martin’s game

Herald Sun
March 7, 2018

DAMIEN Hardwick has found a clear weakness he believes can take Dustin Martin to the next level this year — his below-par handballing.

Martin had what many believed was a flawless season, winning every major media award as well as the Brownlow, Norm Smith Medal and premiership.

But in his quest for improvement in every facet of his list, Hardwick says even the smallest of flaws will be addressed.

It means that in the first session of Richmond’s summer he sat his players down and showed them video edits of the selfless, competitive football that took them to the premiership.

But while Martin’s “don’t-argue” has become his trademark move, Hardwick says it means he sometimes doesn’t handball to a player in a better position.

“We demand as a coaching group that we continue to develop our players and get them better,’’ he said.

“A lot of them will say, how does Dusty Martin get better after the season he had?

“But Dustin’s one of those players that every year that he’s come back he’s improved one facet of his game. His handball was probably an area that we feel he could get better at this year …”

Asked if he was serious in the Fox Footy interview to air on Tuesday night, Hardwick says it sometimes prevents him from seeing open teammates.

“He probably doesn’t need to handball because his fend-off is so strong. His ability to do that I think will open up teammates even more, his unselfish nature is really improved in the way he plays the game.

“A lot of our players had good solid years but we’re looking forward to a number of players who were thereabouts last year, to have a spike in performance.”

Hardwick admits the Tigers were only the best in the competition in a seven-match steak to end the year.

So according to the newly-signed premiership coach, the proof will be in the pudding about how hungry Richmond is in defending its title.

“All our guys have come back hungry, ready to go. The thing we have spoken with our group about is that what we have achieved is fantastic.

“But we want you to be humble with that.

“The first thing I did was show a video, re-establishing our brand. We wanted to quickly remind our player who we were.

“The defensive elements of our game, the unselfish nature of how we scored our goals, the competitive nature of our players overall. We showed them snippets of the finals series, about two or three crucial bits of play that represented who we were.

“We wanted to speak to them about the fact that we wanted to get better at that. I still firmly believe, we weren’t necessarily the best team in season 2017, we were probably the best team for the last six to seven weeks.

“So our best footy is still firmly in front of us.”