How cricket star De Villiers became Dusty’s newest fan

Richmond’s Dustin Martin has yet another new fan, Simon Katich has explained.

While coaching Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League in Dubai between September and November, Katich was able to watch his beloved Tigers in the AFL Grand Final in late October.

Katich explained how South African star AB De Villiers took an immediate liking to Martin while watching him in action as the Tigers defeated Geelong to claim their third premiership in four years.

“Dusty’s got a new fan,” he said on SEN Test Cricket.

“AB De Villiers wanted to be named Dusty De Villiers after seeing him play for the first time.

“His first ever game of AFL he watched and he was very, very impressed.”

The former Aussie batsman was also pleased to witness the reaction of Aaron Finch, who is a staunch Cats fan.

“What a great day that was,” Katich added.

“The best part of it was watching it in Dubai in our team room and seeing Aaron Finch, who is a mad Geelong supporter, throwing bottles of water at the TV in the third term when Richmond were coming home strong.

“He wasn’t happy, Finchy. So I got a bit of humour out of that.”

Katich also suggested to Anthony Hudson, another Cats supporter, that perhaps we could see some more Richmond premierships in the coming years.

Asked if he fit the stereotype of an arrogant Tigers supporter, Katich said: “Not at all mate!”

“Three out of the last four years, and more to come while Dusty is playing the way he is.

“We got time to keep going on that, being a Geelong man Huddo?

“Dusty’s 29, still got his best days in front of him. A couple of the other boys are starting to climb up the ranks as well.

“Shai Bolton, Tom Lynch, the list goes on and on…”

De Villiers was lucky enough to witness Martin kick four goals and collect 21 disposals in the Grand Final as he claimed his third Norm Smith Medal.

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Dusty’s absence not the reason for loss to Hawthorn: Tigers coach Hardwick

Hardwick disagreed with the suggestion that the Tigers’ performances dropped significantly without Martin.

“I wouldn’t say that, like we didn’t have the majority of our playing list for the start of last year and you take one of the best, if not the best player in the league out of a side, you’d prefer to have him than not,” he said.

“The reality is there’s 22 other players that play our way, who just didn’t play well tonight. Dustin’s just one player. He’s not the Richmond Football Club. He’s a very important player, don’t get me wrong. But our expectation, the club expectation is our players who pull on the jumper play a hell of a lot better than they did tonight. I’ve got to coach them better as well.

“I know what you’re saying, but I think it’s a long bow to draw.”

Hardwick acknowledged Martin’s teammates walked taller with him in the side. “Yeah absolutely, that’s what the very best players in the competition do, you feel better about life, there’s no doubt.

It was a tough night for the Richmond coach.

It was a tough night for the Richmond coach.Credit:Getty Images

“But the fact of the matter is, other players have to step up. It happened this week and it will happen again in the future – there’s no doubt.

“We just had too many players today who were well below their best, you’re not going to win many games of football when that’s the case.”

Hardwick called the performance – in which the Tigers trailed by 32 points both at quarter-time and half-time – “un-Richmond-like” and marked by poor execution.

“Defensively we were pretty solid last week. This week, we probably, in all facets of the game, I thought we weren’t terrific. That’s taking nothing away from Hawthorn, I thought they were very good, but I was just disappointed in the way we played. You know, we pride ourselves on a number of things that we do. But none of those things really shone out tonight.”

Hardwick said their poor starts – they conceded the first five goals to the Hawks after giving up the first four in their draw against Collingwood – were disappointing, and that they had failed to stick tackles.

“It wasn’t so much – the pressure was there, but we just missed tackles. They broke through. The number of times we had them, I thought stark, and they managed to get that ball out and that ball forward. That was disappointing, certainly it’s not to our level of expectation for sure.”

The coach said the Tigers had given up easy goals to free kicks (Hawthorn booted six from frees). “We’ve just got to nullify those, those easy goals you give opposition…to give up easy scores like that, it’s really demoralising.

“Look, we’ve got to look at something, it’s not working for us at the moment. You know, same sort of thing, we’re not doing anything that’s dissimilar from last year. But we’ve got to re-invigorate and find something that’ll get us up and going.

“Once again, a lot of things that we’re not executing are in our control. You know, the opposition’s the opposition, but we still pride ourselves on the way we play and we’re just not doing it.

“You know, that’s on me as a coach and the players stepping up and performing what we’re designed to do. At the moment we’re well short of that.

“Do we want to be playing our best footy now? No. Do we need to play a hell of a lot better? Absolutely. We’re well off it at the moment.”

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