Man down? Dusty doubt for final
RICHMOND superstar Dustin Martin has trained away from the main group amid growing intrigue about his fitness for Friday night's AFL preliminary final against Collingwood.
Martin, who suffered a cork during the Tigers' qualifying final win over Hawthorn, took part in stationary kicking drills before Monday morning's session was closed to media and was later spotted jogging laps with backman Nathan Broad.
It comes after Martin left the training track early last Friday, failing to take part in an hour-long match simulation session.
Fox Footy's David King said Martin was struggling with a "significant" knee injury.
"I had someone call me on the weekend and just sort of said there's more to the Dusty story than we're being told," King said.
"I think he's got a significant knee issue, now whether the issue is a management issue, everyone's got something at this stage, but their Fab Four has been pretty much unimpeded the last two to three years really.
"They haven't missed games of football. You've got to keep an eye on this one. It's a real story."
King maintained Martin would play, but questioned whether he would be at 100 per cent by Friday night.
"We're not saying Martin won't play, it's what can he do and where can he play? The last two weeks he's played 80 per cent in the midfield, does he have that volume in him?" he said.
Tigers defender Dylan Grimes played down concerns about the reigning Brownlow Medallist.
"I think he's fine to be honest," Grimes said before Monday's training session. "It was a bit of a storm in a tea cup. He did exactly what he'd planned on doing.
"The same with Dan Rioli as well. They're both absolutely flying so no issues whatsoever."
Small forward Rioli was sent for scans on Friday after jarring his finger and midfielder Kane Lambert also left the track early but both trained with the main group on Monday.
Richmond football chief Neil Balme last week allayed fears about Martin, who has missed just three games during his nine-season career to injury.
"Dusty had a knock last week but it's all right now," he said. "We have no doubt that he'll be playing next week … there's really nothing to report."
Martin had 19 disposals and kicked three goals during the Tigers' 28-point victory over Collingwood in round 19 despite a hard tag from Levi Greenwood.
The grand final qualifier will be the first final between the traditional rivals and powerhouse Victorian clubs since the 1980 premiership decider.
The Tigers will line up at the MCG having not played for 15 days while the Pies will be coming off a six-day break and a trip to Perth.
Grimes said the Tigers had approached their week off in the same fashion as they did during last year's triumphant finals series.
"We've had a couple of byes recently so it's nothing we haven't done before or prepared for," he said.
"At this time of year there's a lot of sore bodies around on both sides of the fence and it's been a good opportunity to freshen up."
Forward Jordan De Goey looms as a game breaker for the Magpies after booting three goals during their semi-final win over GWS on Saturday night.
Pundits were quick to identify Grimes as a potential match-up for De Goey but he believes the job could fall to All-Australian fullback Alex Rance. "I noticed (on Saturday) he was playing quite deep a lot," Grimes said of De Goey.
"Normally we like to maintain our back six and have Rancey in those deepest (spots).
"I'm not 100 per cent sure what it's going to look like but he's been in great form."