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Tigers expect 'durable' Dusty to face Demons

AFL 2017 Round 03 - Richmond v West Coast
The Tigers expect Dustin Martin to be fit for the clash with the Demons
I think most teams would have him on one leg anyway
Trent Cotchin on Dustin Martin

RICHMOND is confident star midfielder Dustin Martin will be fit to take on Melbourne in Monday's Anzac Day eve clash at the MCG as he recovers from groin soreness.

Martin, who was below his best against the Brisbane Lions in round four, underwent scans on Wednesday and told Channel Seven: "I've just got a bit of a sore groin … I should be fine". 

The Tigers have an eight-day break before taking on the Demons, which should help the 25-year-old, who was able to complete a running session on Thursday morning.

"Dusty is (one of) our most durable players at the football club, and I think most teams would have him on one leg anyway," captain Trent Cotchin said on Thursday.

"I think he'll come up fine, he'll train on the weekend and it's one of those ones that you wait and see how it plays out.

"I don't think it's anything too significant … it's just a time thing."

Tall forward Ben Griffiths is also available for selection against the 2-2 Demons after missing two matches with concussion.

The Tigers have lost their past three clashes against the Demons, and the past two in the marquee Anzac Day eve match, and Cotchin said the group felt like they "owe them a couple".

"They've had the wood over us the last couple of years, so we're looking to try and get one back on them," Cotchin said in a joint media conference with Demons co-captain Jack Viney. 

"From my point of view, this is my 10th season and we’ve sort of been on par with development since almost that day, so (the rivalry) stems back probably before Jack's time.

"We're proud clubs and you want to have the wood over your neighbours."

Cotchin said the environment at the 4-0 Tigers had improved significantly this season, with pressure for selection, a positive mindset, and a deeper midfield all playing a role.

The skipper said players and coaches had been focusing on "what guys can do, rather than what they can't do" and the entire group had bought in to Damien Hardwick's new game-style.

"The energy has been great and not just in our senior team," Cotchin said.

"The VFL team had a great win on the weekend and guys have been really stiff to miss out … the environment is certainly better than it was last year."

The Demons are likely to regain key forward Jesse Hogan after a two-match suspension, and Viney said the young star had nothing to prove on-field.

His challenge, however, was to earn back his teammates' trust after being filmed smoking during his break in Perth, which the club said was "not a good look".  

"We're looking forward to getting him back in the team. He's a big part of it," Viney said.  

"It's probably building trust from the off-field side of things. We've got no issues with the way he performs on the field."

The Demons could turn to former Essendon defender Michael Hibberd this week after an impressive return from an Achilles tendon injury in the VFL, winning 25 possessions and showing class across half-back.

Viney said the club was keen to get the gun recruit into the senior team as quickly as possible.

"He's had a bit of an issue with his body and how that's going to hold up, but he played well on the weekend from all reports," Viney said.

"If his body has pulled up well, hopefully he gets a gig."