IT SHOULD come as no surprise the Tiger casting the biggest shadow over Brisbane ahead of Friday night's qualifying final at the Gabba is Dustin Martin.

'Dusty' destroys most teams, but has a particular liking for mauling the Lions. 

For starters, he hasn't lost a game against a Brisbane outfit, sporting a perfect 15-0 record in his 11-season career.

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Remarkably, Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin has gone one better to notch the 'sweet 16' without a blemish. 

But it's Martin who haunts the Lions. 

From the moment he slammed home five goals – three from outside 50 – among 22 disposals at the Gabba in just his 33rd career game in 2011, he has terrorised any team wearing maroon, blue and gold. 

Even in Brisbane's rapid rise under Chris Fagan, Martin has been the constant thorn, driving a Richmond hoodoo that hangs over the home team.

He has done damage in the midfield (40 disposals and two goals in 2017 is a prime example), but the 29-year-old has caused his greatest headaches when roaming inside the forward 50.

Martin has kicked the only two six-goal hauls of his career against Brisbane, once in a 2018 demolition at the MCG, and again – most tellingly – in the corresponding qualifying final last year. 

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On that occasion he ripped the Lions apart in all sorts of ways, kicking goals from forward 50 stoppages, outworking opponents one-on-one, and worrying defenders into giving away free kicks. 

Darcy Gardiner, Marcus Adams, Daniel Rich and Luke Hodge all spent time on the powerhouse Tiger. 

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"He's a great player, but he's like anyone else, he's got strengths and weaknesses," Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said.

"If the ball gets down there quickly, he's going to be a handful, but if the ball doesn't get down there quickly, it's not so easy for him because there's more of a crowd. 

"Our ability to defend the full oval and to slow Richmond's ball movement down is going to be critical in the game." 

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 Ultimately someone has to be responsible for Martin when he goes forward, and that unenviable task could well fall to third-year defender Brandon Starcevich. 

Although having just 21 games to his name, Starcevich is a similar build to Martin – giving away 5kg – and has the speed and discipline to stick to a task. 

"I'd be happy to. I love playing on those guys," Starcevich told AFL.com.au

"If he heads down there I'm more than happy to take him. 

"It's about doing your work early. As soon as you give him space and let him turn and run around and beat you to the drop of the ball, you're in a bad position." 

Lions defender Brandon Starcevich in action against Collingwood in round 15. Picture: AFL Photos

Although he failed to kick a goal in the teams' round 10 clash at Metricon Stadium, Martin was again arguably the best player on the ground, gathering 24 disposals and putting three goals on a platter for his teammates in the 41-point win. 

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Even without spearhead Tom Lynch (hamstring), Richmond has an arsenal of avenues to goal, meaning Martin might again see multiple opponents when he wanders forward. 

"He's different to other smaller forwards," Starcevich said. "He can push off you and lead up at the footy and be a focal point. 

"He can hurt you in a lot of ways. I'll have to be wary. 

"It's not one on ones out there, you've always got someone else helping you and it's become more of a focus now trying to get ourselves in positions to help each other out.

"Hopefully we can replicate it." 

Brisbane are going to need to, because the one certainty when the teams meet is that Martin is going to have his say at some stage. He always does.