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Cotchin backs Martin

Dustin Martin of the Tigers in action during an AFL exhibition match between the Indigenous All Stars and the Richmond Tigers at Traeger Park in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Trent Cotchin is confident Dustin Martin will excel for the Tigers in 2013

RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin has brushed aside off-field concerns about Dustin Martin, declaring the controversial midfielder is in excellent shape for 2013.

The 21-year-old has at times been in the spotlight for his off-field behavior, which saw him hit with a club-imposed suspension last season and also the subject of inflammatory social media chatter over summer.

But Cotchin has backed the star midfielder to fire like never before in 2013.

"He's flying. He pulled up a little bit sore from last weekend's game but he's ready to go," Cotchin told AFL.com.au.  

"He's had the best preparation he's had since being at the club."

Cotchin said a big part of the summer has been spent building structure into Martin's life, plus tutelage from new Richmond assistant coach Mark Williams.

"He's got his house set up exactly how he wants it now, he said he's more than comfortable just to sit on the couch whereas he's been a little bored at home before," Cotchin said.  

"He's working with Linfox once a week, so he's learning a lot both footy-wise and off-field wise."

"'Choco' Williams has been fantastic in helping him set up a lot of it and I think we'll see a lot of benefits from what he's been doing off-field and away from the club come footy time."

Cotchin's strong support from Martin comes after Garry Lyon warned the Tigers would look to trade Martin if he didn't get his off-field act together.

Lyon told AFL.com.au's Footy Focus he had no doubt Martin's issues continued to concern Richmond.

"Make no mistake, there are some issues with Dustin at Richmond," Lyon said.

 

"People can deny all they want, but his off-field stuff remains an issue for the Richmond Football Club."

The Tigers get a chance to atone from what has become a bad run in their traditional Thursday night round one clash against Carlton this week, having not beaten the Blues on the occasion since 2008.

Cotchin said the team has worked on making amends.

"I think last year we just had a patch where we mentally let ourselves down," he said.
 
"We've got things in place that hopefully we can stop those sort of run ons from opposition teams because it is a game of momentum."

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL  

Dustin Martin  is a midfieldfer/forward in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 85 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.