Sore Dusty struggles in Tigers upset loss

Dustin Martin wasn't anywhere near his best against Collingwood.
Dustin Martin wasn't anywhere near his best against Collingwood.

Whatever was actually wrong with Dustin Martin, one thing is certain - the Richmond superstar just wasn't himself in the Tigers' 39-point preliminary final loss to Collingwood.

He didn't disgrace himself by any means, but Dusty just wasn't Dusty in the 15.7 (97) to 8.10 (58) defeat at the MCG.

Intrigue surrounded Martin's injury status from the moment he was seen leaving a training session at Punt Road early, a week out from Friday night's encounter.

First he was fine according to the club, then he had a significant corked thigh that bled down into a knee.

We might find out what was actually wrong with him in the days ahead as the Tigers ponder where it all went wrong.

Martin finished with 19 possessions, three marks and no goals - well below the bullocking best the Brownlow Medal winner has thrilled fans with so often.

He was minded by Levi Greenwood when he started in the centre square and didn't register his first touch until well into the frantic first quarter.

He played deep inside the forward 50 for large periods but where he has terrorised defenders in the past, he was unable to impose himself with his trademark strength lacking.

Damien Hardwick will no doubt ask himself some searching questions as the dust settles on Richmond's failed bid to go back-to-back.

He might well ponder if he rolled the dice and lost on Martin and defender David Astbury, who battled a virus late in the week.

Astbury was quarantined from the group late in the week and wasn't at his best matched up on Pies' game breaker Mason Cox.

Australian Associated Press