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Tigers happy to give Martin leave to visit his father in NZ

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 12: Dustin Martin of the Tigers in action during the Richmond Tigers training session at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne on April 12, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Dustin Martin has been travelling regularly to New Zealand to visit his deported father

RICHMOND will continue to give star onballer Dustin Martin leave to visit his deported father in New Zealand, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick says.

Martin's father, Shane, has links to outlawed motorcycle gangs and was detained by police in Sydney last month.

His visa was cancelled for failing to meet the minimum character requirements to remain in Australia and he has since been deported to the country of his birth.

Be patient on 'half step back': Hardwick

Speaking ahead of the Tigers' crucial clash against West Coast on Friday night, Hardwick said the club supported Martin's visits to see his father. 

"It is a challenging time. Dustin's obviously very close with his dad and we'll continue to give him some time to be with his dad overseas, (who is) obviously in New Zealand at the moment," Hardwick said. 

"All Dustin can do is … play well on the weekends and his personal life will take care of itself. 

"Dustin's very resilient with these types of things, he's matured incredibly over the time we've had him at our football club.

"We're very proud of him and he's had a pretty good season thus far. He was probably a little bit down last week, but he's a good player."

Despite the upheaval in his life, Martin has still performed to a high level, averaging slightly more disposals (26.3) than his stellar 2015 campaign and being among the best players in the opening two rounds.

Asked if Richmond would reduce the 24-year-old's workload as he deals with his father's situation, Hardwick replied: "No, not really. We monitor all our players with regard to their physical and mental wellbeing. 

"Dustin's no different to that."