Richmond midfield star Dustin Martin (centre) trains at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne.
Richmond midfield star Dustin Martin (centre) trains at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne. JULIAN SMITH

Taming Tiger shapes as Giants' challenge

AFL: GWS are just one game from the grand final but to get there they need to pull off the toughest job in footy - nullify Dustin Martin.

If Richmond's superstar midfielder gets off the chain in Saturday's preliminary final at the MCG like he did two weeks ago against Geelong, then the Giants can start preparing for Mad Monday.

But stopping Martin in his current run of form would be near mission impossible for Leon Cameron's men, blunting his affect is the more feasible option.

Giants co-captain Callan Ward said the Giants will pay attention to Martin and make him a targeted player but GWS will back themselves to win the midfield battle.

"Our mids versus their mids - we're pretty confident we can get the job done,” Ward said.

"Usually you have a target player, not every week, but the target player is worked on by a group.

"Obviously Martin getting off the chain is the one playing really good footy, but we're pretty confident in the structures we've got and the balance we've got around stoppages.

"At stoppages we definitely have structures in place to help us with those sort of players. "Everyone is talking about Dusty being their only threat but I think they've got a great midfield, (Trent) Cotchin plays really good footy, you've got (Dion) Prestia as well.”

If Cameron does opt for an old-fashioned tagging job on Martin, Steve Coniglio looks the man for the job but that tactic looks highly unlikely Saturday.

Last week the Sydney Swans were knocked out of the finals race by a rampant Patrick Dangerfield and the Geelong midfielder will almost certainly be presenting the Brownlow Medal to Martin on Monday night.

Ward said he wouldn't be surprised if Richmond coach Damien Hardwick uses a similar tactic to that of Geelong last week against the Swans and throw his midfield gun up forward.

"Dusty's hurting blokes on the inside with his fend off and his tackling,” Ward said.

"But his run off away from stoppages is a bit like Dangerfield and he's kicking goals as well. I'm sure the backs know who is going to take him but we're not going down there.”

The other opponent the Giants will have to deal with is the Tiger Army, which will dominate the grandstands of the MCG to a scale the game has probably never seen. Richmond are expected to have more than 90,000 supporters while GWS will have less than 3000.

"I've heard a lot about the yellow and black tsunami,” Ward said.

"It's not something we see too much of here in Sydney. We're trying to build our own hype. I don't think it should matter where you play your final.”


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