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Dustin Martin comes of age but crocodilian menace remains | Jonathan Horn

Richmond have smoothed some rough edges and expectations of the in-form Tiger are high for Friday’s AFL preliminary final

The problem with writing about Dustin Martin is there’s no-one to compare him to. There’s no obvious reference point. People throw around names like Millane and Ricciuto, mainly because they had similar physiques, similar struts, similar locomotion. But they were completely different footballers. Martin is unprecedented. For columnists, for opposition coaches and for defenders marooned one-on-one with him in an open forward line, it makes him almost impossible to get a handle on.

There’s a bit of Gary Ablett Snr about him – the shyness, the distant stare, the brute power, the legs that could prop up a jetty, the titanic talent. Certainly, of all the footballers I’ve seen, only Martin draws your eye the way Ablett did. But Ablett was a different proposition altogether. Watching him as a kid, my default reaction was often laughter. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. When they flash to the crowd during his highlights packages, the fans are invariably pissing themselves.

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