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Richmond loss to Brisbane, Dustin Martin fitness, trade, Kane Cornes comments, stats

Port Adelaide great Ken Kornes has cast doubt on his decision to play Richmond’s “80 per cent fit” Dustin Martin in Thursday night’s elimination final defeat at the Gabba.

Martin returned Thursday night from a long layoff, which began in the 16th round after a head injury.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick suggested during his weekly press conference that Martin could only play at 80 percent capacity, but said the risk was worth it given the three-time Norm Smith Medalist’s final pedigree.

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Martin finished with 15 goals and four assists, but only three of those came in his final season.

Cornes, speaking on SEN Breakfast, took issue with Martin’s choice.

“I thought I was going to play Dustin Martin,” he said.

“When Damien Hardwick said before the game that he would only be 80 per cent fit, you fell on deaf ears.

“It was a little bit of a liability last night. They didn’t want to get Dustin Martin on the ground in the most important moments. … Only three touchdowns[in the fourth quarter]all in the middle of the defensive end and in the middle of the last quarter, they couldn’t or didn’t want to get him on the ground.

“So to other coaches, a warning to injured players – no matter how good they are and no matter what their reputation – it usually doesn’t work in the finals, I don’t think.

Cornes’ co-host, two-time North Melbourne premiership player David King, said he had an “opposite view”.

“Just having him there takes a match up and you get a domino effect, you get players in that Richmond forward line who are underrated in terms of other talents, and you have to say Richmond’s forward line is done. They finished with 16.8, so I do not agree with this opinion.

“I understand you’re hot on the decision to play him, but why not play him? What he did in the finals is that we have never seen a player like that in a finals before.

“So when he’s found fit to play, what, you don’t play him?”

Martin, Kornes said, “was seen below.”

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