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Dustin Martin has awarded extras after the AFL bye week as Richmond training resumes

Dustin Martin has awarded extras after the AFL bye week as Richmond training resumes

Dustin Martin has awarded extras after the AFL bye week as Richmond training resumes

Dustin Martin is among a number of Richmond veterans who have been given a few extra days off after the AFL club’s bye week.

With no games this weekend, the Tigers were handed a mid-season break following the Round 14 loss to Hawthorn, which saw Martin celebrate his 300th game in front of 92,000 fans at the MCG.

WATCH ABOVE VIDEO: Dustin Martin given extra break after AFL bye.

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As most of the team returned to work on Friday, Martin and other experienced players were given some extra time to freshen up.

But he had already been at the club on Thursday before being requested, according to 7NEWS Melbourne’s Theo Doropoulos.

“Martin wasn’t there (Friday) but 7NEWS understands he was at the club yesterday completing a gym session,” Doropoulos said.

“He’s not officially asked back until early next week.

“Most of the team hit the track for a light session at Punt Road (today), with practice resuming after a four-day break.

Several of the club’s veterans have been given an extra day or two to recover from a grueling first half of the season.”

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Dustin Martin missed practice on Friday, but was on Thursday. Credit: AAP

Speculation over Martin’s future has been rife during what has been a difficult year on the field for the Tigers and has been in full swing since his 300th last weekend.

The three-time Norm Smith medalist is yet to commit to playing at Tigerland, or at all in the AFL, after this year despite an offer from Richmond sitting on the table for some time.

Martin was emotional after the milestone match at the MCG and spoke to his former team-mate Jack Riewoldt in a rare interview.

But questions about his future remain, with Martin far from emphatic when asked if he would return after Richmond’s bye.

“Yeah mate, freshen up after the bye, we’ll see how we go,” Martin said immediately after the game.

The 32-year-old did a mini tour of honor to acknowledge the huge crowd, many of whom had come specifically to see the Tigers legend reach the milestone.

Dustin Martin celebrated his 300th game last weekend. Dustin Martin celebrated his 300th game last weekend.
Dustin Martin celebrated his 300th game last weekend. Credit: Getty

“The big question is whether the 300-game superstar will play the rest of the year after what felt like a bye after the Hawks clash,” Doropoulos said.

“But the teammates and those around the club – some (are) confident, some hopeful, Dusty will finish the season.”

That view is at odds with speculation that continues to swirl, with Carlton great Brendan Fevola sure last weekend was Tiger fans’ last chance to see Martin in action in yellow and black.

“Dustin Martin did something we’ve never seen a 300-game player do before,” Fevola said on The Fox during the week.

“He did a lap of honor, almost. And Dustin Martin, who is a quiet, very reserved, very humble man, waved to them all.

“Clap the crowd. He was really beating him. I guess he had said goodbye.

“I think there was something else in her… I think she cooked. He needs to rest his body.”

MartiniMartini
Dustin Martin is being presided over in his 300th game, but Tim Taranto hopes it wasn’t goodbye. Credit: AAP

Fevola said Martin was an “absolute superstar” and “probably in the top five players of all time.”

“(The game) was a screenwriter’s dream. The first goal of the game was the big Dustin Martin … and then it was gone,” Fevola said.

“That was all he did. I think he checked.

“He didn’t do any interviews all week.

“No one could get him (to talk) and his great partner, triple premiership teammate Jack Riewoldt, came down to the ground and interviewed him after the game.

“Now that’s why I did a lot of hating… I was told it would be over after 300 games.

“He could play until the end of the year, but he will be done at Richmond until the end of the year.

“And he will go and play for Gold Coast for maybe one or two years – (he will) sit in the goal box, get paid a lot of money and join Damien Hardwick … they are the best of friends.

“The last question Jack asked was, ‘Are you going to be back in a couple of weeks?’… Because he was all over the place last week when he finished (the retreat).

“He said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll freshen up this week and we’ll be back.’ I don’t know about that.”

Fevola said Martin’s return after the game was him “thank you to the lovely supporters in Richmond”.

“You could see it in his eyes and he was clapping everybody,” Fevola added.

Richmond’s final four games for the end of the year are against North Melbourne (Marvel), St Kilda (Marvel), Hawthorn (MCG) and Gold Coast (MCG).

“I don’t think it will last until the end of the year. There is no way,” Fevola said.