Martin needs "life skills"

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 15 Januari 2013 | 14.43

Dustin Martin after a pre-season running session. Picture: Stuart Walmsley Source: Herald Sun

RICHMOND wild child Dustin Martin is still learning how to balance the off-field life of an AFL star with its on-field demands, former skipper Chris Newman says.

Newman says former Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams, who has joined the Tigers in a development role, is helping the 21-year-old learn the "life skills" required to be an AFL footballer.

He did not deny suggestions senior coach Damien Hardwick had to pull Martin into line for his off-field behaviour over the Christmas break.

Asked directly about the reports, Newman said: "I think that with Dustin it's an ongoing thing and he's still trying to develop himself not only as a footballer but as a person.

"Off-field we've got a standard that we we set that everyone has to adhere to.

"Dustin's still trying to get that good balance between having a healthy lifestyle outside of football and also delivering on the field.

"We're lucky enough to have a really good development program here and that's where 'Choco' Williams has come in and really taken these young blokes under his wing.

"He knows what it takes to succeed and win premierships and that's why a lot of young guys are continually in his office, (he's) trying to give them the life skills that's required of an AFL footballer."

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Martin was a revelation in his debut season but he followed it up with an inconsistent 2013 season that was interrupted by a two-match club suspension for sleeping in and missing training in July. The incident resulted in the sacking of teammate Daniel Connors.

In November Connors revealed the Tigers had banned Martin from socialising with him.

Newman said yesterday there were no issues with Martin on the track this pre-season.

"Dustin has completed every session, he's pretty fit, he ran a pretty good time in the time-trial last week," Newman said.

"He certainly entered the comp with a bang but remember he's still only young and still learning the craft."

And Newman backed the club's decision not to suspend or fine recruit Ricky Petterd, who left the MCG on Boxing Day after clashing with other fans.

"You've got to have a life. He was at the cricket and having a few beers and I really don't think there was much in that story," he said.

The former captain, who handed the reins to Trent Cotchin after four years in the job, said Petterd and the Tigers' other mature-age recruits, including Chris Knights, Sam Lonergan, Aaron Edwards and Orren Stephenson, were not simply recruited as insurance.

"That's a good position we're in, those guys are going to be fighting for spots to wear the Richmond jumper in Round 1."

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