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Tigers coach Damien Hardwick taunted for playing injured Dustin Martin after topless groping video

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Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has PASSED playing injured Dustin Martin in final loss just a day after superstar’s topless groping video came to light: ‘He was a bit of a risk’

  • Martin was sidelined for eight weeks before the final with a hamstring injury
  • He was dropped in the elimination final despite only being 80 percent fit
  • The Tigers eventually lost to the Lions by two points and their season is over
  • Cornes said the decision to play Martin played a part in Tigers’ loss

Port Adelaide premiership winner Kane Cornes flogged the Richmond Tigers for risking Dustin Martin in their final loss to the Brisbane Lions, labeling the superstar a ‘liability’.

The Tigers were eliminated from the AFL final in a heartbreaking final in which they lost by two points after a late goal from Joe Daniher to grab the lead.

Martin raced against the clock to play the game after eight weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

He was also at the center of a viral video that surfaced at the event of the elimination finals against the Lions in which he groped a topless woman during a Mad Monday feature in 2015.

He had 15 disposals, eight contested possessions, one goal and three in-50s in a willing appearance after coach Damien Hardwick admitted he was not quite fit.

“He won’t be 100 per cent, he will probably be about 80 per cent, which is good enough,” Hardwick said before the match.

“Ideally you would always want another week, but in reality we are at the business end of the season.

“We could have pushed the boundaries last week, so we’re pretty happy with where he is.

“Eighty percent Dustin Martin is pretty formidable in my eyes. I still wouldn’t like to play with him.’

But Cornes rejected the decision to play Martin when he was not 100 percent, saying it contributed to the Tigers’ season ending.

‘[It was] clearly a mistake playing Dustin Martin, I thought,’ he said.

“Your ears perked up before the game when Damien Hardwick says he will only be 80 per cent fit.

“He was a bit of a risk last night, Dustin Martin, they didn’t want to get him on the ground in the crucial moments… Just three touches [in the fourth quarter]all on the defensive half and the last half of the last quarter they couldn’t or wouldn’t get him on the ground.

“So warning other coaches, injured players – no matter how good they are and regardless of their reputation – doesn’t often work in finals, I don’t think.”

North Melbourne Premiership winner David King agreed with Cornes, saying Martin’s limited mobility was hitting other players.

“Just the fact that he’s there, he takes a match-up and you get the domino effect, you get lower-ranked players against other talent in that Richmond forward line, and you should say the forward line of Richmond functioned, they’re done with 16.8, so I don’t agree with that opinion,” he said.

“I understand you’re excited about the decision to play him, but why not play him? What he did in the final, we have never seen such a player in the final.

“So if he’s qualified to play, then what, aren’t you playing him?”

Martin storms onto the pitch at the Gabba for the elimination final against the Brisbane Lions

Martin storms onto the pitch at the Gabba for the elimination final against the Brisbane Lions

While Cornes and King stuck to the decision to play Martin, the majority of fans had a very different opinion, praising Richmond for rolling the dice in their all-or-nothing elimination final.

“It’s a blood-curdling final, you take risks with great final players getting injured. Every team does it, Cornes makes ridiculous comments sometimes,” said Wayne Hardman.

‘Reverse the result. It’s a non issue. Playing dusty wasn’t the reason they lost. Just typical extremist Cornes and his opinions to put a stop to it,’ agreed Tim Lower.

“Kane Cornes needs to calm down. Anyone who has ever watched football will say that Dusty may have just been the man to totally turn them on and win. It’s all a gamble, and they had to take it. Was an incredible match,” added Damian Cafarella.

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