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Aussie Rules: Tigers confirm Martin will start

Richmond Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed Dustin Martin will be in from the start when they face Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday.

The Tigers are priced at 19/50 to beat the Pies and having Martin back in the side will give the whole team a lift.

Trained well

Hardwick is delighted with the way Martin has trained following his time away from the club and says he is looking good shape ahead of his return.

The midfielder may not be at his absolute sharpest but that is of no concern to Hardwick who says even if an under-cooked Martin is a force to be reckoned with.

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"We're looking forward to welcoming him back and hopefully he has an impact for us on the weekend, which we're sure he will," Hardwick told reporters. "He's going to be not at his optimal, but he's certainly trained reasonably hard, as hard as he could without being in a team environment.

"We're pleasantly surprised by how he's moving and how he's operating thus far. But we're playing one of the hardest games in the world, so we'll level our expectations, we'll just put him out there and see how he goes.

"At 50 per cent Dustin Martin's still a pretty good player on our books."

Not retirement fears

Martin was give time away from the club following the death of his father but Hardwick was always confident the player would return when he was ready.

"He's in a good space but it's like anyone that's had a loss of their best mate and their father, there'll be ups and downs,” Hardwick added.

"We support him, we understand that and we'll continue to provide support where we need.”

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