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‘He’s not out of form, but he’s not in Dustin Martin form’: Jimmy Bartel

HOUR OF POWER

Dustin Martin’s two week suspension for striking was downgraded to one week after a successful trip to the AFL tribunal.

The 2017 Brownlow Medalist has started the season in a slump and three-time premiership player Jimmy Bartel says his team mates need to do more to help the star midfielder deal with taggers.

“He’s not out of form, but he’s not in Dustin Martin form,” Bartel said on the Hour of Power.

“Team mates need to help him around the contest, block for him, throw a few shepherds, maybe give him the odd cheap stat around the back which gets players going,”

Martin has been frequently tagged in the opening three rounds of the season and while the Richmond Footy Club are rallying around him publicly, Bartel says they’re likely to be sharing sterner words in private.

“Behind closed doors they’re saying ‘right mate, you need to work a little harder around the contest, you tell us how you think you can break free from a tag, or where you want to play, and also whatever you need for us to do, we’ll help sort you out and we’ll get your team mates to help out a bit.” he said.

Bartel says midfielders deserve little sympathy for being stuck with a tag.

“Gary Ablett Jnr has been tagged every game for 15 years of his life,” he said.

“A lot of the forwards who I played with at Geelong used to say ‘why are you midfielders complaining about being tagged, we get tagged every week, it’s called a defender playing on you,”

“You don’t get to run around free, you midfielders.”

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