Dustin Martin

Dustin Martin is on track for a big 2022. Photo: Richmond FC

Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt has left fans salivating at the “air of excitement” around Punt Road with Dustin Martin resuming full training.

Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt has left fans salivating at the “air of excitement” around Punt Road and embracing the “buzz” that surrounds their Premiership hero Dustin Martin who has resumed full training. 

He is on track to spend more time in the midfield as he attempts to return to his 2017 Brownlow medal “bull” like performances. 

The three-time Norm Smith medallist ended his 2021 season prematurely after a bone-crunching collision with Brisbane’s Mitch Robinson. The incident left him in hospital and recovering from a lacerated kidney. 

His off-season became even tougher with the sad passing of his father Shane in December. 

Speaking at Punt Road, Riewoldt has already seen signs since pre-season training has returned to the Dusty of old.

“I think he just wants to be the best version of himself, he’s got a bit of a buzz about him at the moment and I feel like maybe there’s a hunger there to get back to where he was,” he said.

With an ominous warning Riewoldt has flagged to opposition clubs, be ready to see the number four spending more time in the heart of the centre.

“The way we use him this year will be interesting.

“We may push him into the midfield a little bit more and see if we can get the bull back again from 2017.” 

The 2017 Brownlow year saw Martin claim the award with the most votes in history (36, equaled by Ollie Wines in 2021), it was the most dominant season ever put together that included the Premiership and the first of his three Norm-Smith medals and Riewoldt doesn’t see one of the greats of the game to stopping there 

“I’ve got full belief in Dustin, he’s always taken his game to the next level.”

2021 saw the Tigers miss the finals for the first time since 2016, it’s given them an opportunity to have a longer pre-season and build on the learnings they took from 2021.

“I think there’s a real air of excitement about where this group can go, the pundits out there may write us off and see that 2021 was the start of the down spiral of Richmond. We feel like we’re in a good position,” Riewoldt continued.  

While Dustin focuses on his return to the field, fans await with bated breath as to who will be the successor to Trent Cotchin and lead the Tigers in 2022.

“That’s what everyone wants to know… I don’t think it’s too far away from the vote happening and the announcement that will come post that.”

In further positive news for the yellow and black, Riewoldt confirmed that he is in a good headspace, feeling fantastic and rejuvenated ahead of round 1, that’s his sole focus and not looking beyond that.

“Body wise I feel fantastic, it’s probably the mind more than anything else,” he said.

“This may be my last year and if it is, it is. You probably know mid-season whether you want to go on or not. I can’t put a timeline on it.” 

Richmond kicks off their 2022 campaign against Carlton at the MCG on Thursday, March 17.

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