Tiger must rise to AFL tagger challenge

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has challenged Dustin Martin to get the better of in-form Brisbane tagger Mitch Robinson on Saturday.

The Tigers onballer, himself in career-best touch before the bye, looms as the likely target for Robinson when the teams clash at the MCG.

Hardwick said he had emphasised the importance of the duel to his star midfielder this week.

“We’ve put it firmly on him to make sure he beats Mitch Robinson. He had a fantastic game versus (Matthew) Priddis last week and he’ll probably get three Brownlow votes accordingly,” Hardwick said.

“We’re looking forward to Dustin rising to the challenge against Mitch … it will be a good, tough encounter that one.”

Richmond disappointed on their way to 13th spot with a 5-7 record before their bye, but 17th-placed Brisbane have fared even worse, collecting just win for the season.

But the Tigers won four of five games heading into their break and looked to be gathering some momentum after a disastrous six-game losing streak.

“We took some pretty good form into the break, so we’d love to keep going,” Hardwick said.

“We had a disappointing performance versus North Melbourne, so we’re looking to rectify those sort of results.

“Our consistency level has been pretty good over the last four to five weeks, so we’ve got to make sure that we maintain that consistency and get some performances on the board.

“But the proof will be in the pudding. It’s easy to sit here and talk about it, but we’re looking for actions this week. We’ve put it firmly on our playing group to make sure that they start well and get the result we’re after.”

The Tigers have brought in Nick Vlastuin and Connor Menadue, while exciting youngster Daniel Rioli will miss the clash as he attends a family funeral in the Northern Territory.

The Lions made five changes to their side, with Josh Green and Harris Andrews notable inclusions and Dayne Zorko a big out as he takes leave to attend to a family matter.

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