RICHMOND will be without the greatest player of the past five years, but Geelong coach Chris Scott well aware the two-time reigning premier will be no pushover at the MCG on Sunday.
A kidney injury suffered in last week’s win over the Brisbane Lions will see the three-time Norm Smith medallist miss the remainder of the season.
Martin joins fellow premiership players Noah Balta, Nathan Broad, Bachar Houli, Kamdyn McIntosh, Dion Prestia, Ivan Soldo and Nick Vlastuin on the sidelines.
“I guess our suspicion, given that they’ve been really successful, with a structured plan and operation over the last few years, that even though he’s the best player in the comp, there will be another really good player who comes in and plays a similar role to him,” Scott said.
“That’s the likelihood that we’d consider the guy playing that role to be as dangerous as Dustin Martin, and that’s a big challenge for them because he’s the best player in the comp.
“Or we could take a different view, which I think would be a mistake, and that is to assume that they’re going to be less potent without him.
“They’ve shown over a long period of time that they can replace really, really high-level players with guys that can come in and do the job.
“Our expectation, even without him, is to continue the improvement the whole competition’s seen from them over the past week.”
A key battle for the Cats looms in the ruck. Rhys Stanley, who was dropped for the win over Richmond in Round 8, is likely to take on Toby Nankervis.
The triple-premiership-winning big was a key to the Tigers getting past the Lions at Metricon Stadium last week.
Stanley, who was out-of-favour in the middle of the season, has made a strong return in the last three weeks, including against Fremantle’s Sean Darcy last Thursday.
And Scott believes the former Saint can have an impact come finals time.
“Yeah, I think he can,” Scott said. “I thought he was very good last, against one of the best ruckmen in the comp.
“Darcy’s quite rightly in the conversation around the All-Australian position, and I thought Rhys more than matched him, in particular at the centre bounces.
“Physically, he’s in good shape. There’s no reason to think he can’t be really good for us.
“But, Nankervis coming back for them is certainly a bonus.”