Hardwick raises the bar for star Tiger

Dustin Martin’s standout AFL performances are becoming so commonplace that the Richmond star has to do something pretty special to impress his coach.

Martin picked up where he left off after the bye, gathering 35 possessions in a best afield performance in the Tigers’ 42-point win over Brisbane on Saturday.

The 25-year-old’s run of career-best form has seen him touted as a legitimate rival to Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield for the Brownlow Medal.

But coach Damien Hardwick continues to raise the bar for his star midfielder.

“It was a pretty good game … I was disappointed with his last quarter, I think he only had one contested ball,” Hardwick said.

“But just his ability to get in and out of traffic is very good … he was OK today without being great.

“I think I’m probably a harsh judge on Dusty, but he’s an incredible player … there’s no doubt about that.

“If we can refine all of those things that I complain about, then he’s going to be a superstar.”

Martin’s performance was one of the few highlights to come from a largely lacklustre contest at the MCG.

Hardwick admitted he was frustrated with his side’s lack of killer instinct after they led by 56 points at three-quarter time only to settle for a 42-point win.

“It was probably one of those frustrating games where we couldn’t quite get the dominance early that we were after and then to finish off as we did was disappointing,” he said.

“We were looking for a big finish, we challenged the guys to kick 20 goals, and it was disappointing to finish like that.”

Richmond still scored their fifth win in six games, but Hardwick said next week’s clash against Port Adelaide in Adelaide would give him a better idea of where his side sits in the competition.

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