RICHMOND star Dustin Martin was challenged by his coach to become a better contested player and two-way runner, sparking the 23-year-old's renaissance this year. 

Martin, who was best-on-ground in Friday night's brilliant win over Fremantle at Domain Stadium, is enjoying a purple patch that has coincided with a 4-0 run for the Tigers.

He has lifted his contested possessions (9.67) and tackles (4.0) to career-high levels, with his increased fitness base allowing him to also win career-high possessions further up the field (26.56).

Against the Dockers he finished with a season high 34 disposals, five clearances and five tackles, responding to Damien Hardwick's push to lift the defensive and contested aspects of his game.    

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"That's something that 'Dimma' has been challenging him on for a little while now, to be that bull inside who can win it at the coalface and then get out," vice-captain Brett Deledio told Triple M

"We know he can deliver it and kick those nice goals, but he has been challenged and he's certainly living up to it at the moment. 

"The challenge for Dusty is to keep on doing it because he's winning a lot of respect, not only from the outside world but certainly from his teammates because we're loving the way he's playing at the moment." 

After attempting to play a rapid rebound game early in the season, the Tigers have started controlling the tempo of their play better and are getting better reward for their forward entries. 

Against Fremantle, they had 22 scoring shots from 36 inside 50s.

"That (tempo footy) is something we have been working on, especially after that 2013 exit in the finals, we knew we had to work on different styles of play," Deledio said.

"We certainly tried to do that last year although it didn't really work for us early in the year.

"This summer we worked a hell of a lot on it and you're starting to see a little bit of it."