AFL great Dale Thomas’ scorching clip for Dustin Martin critics

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As rumours swirl around Dustin Martin’s future, AFL great Dale Thomas has hit out at “weak” comments about the Richmond champion.

Martin has been in headlines this week with revelations “five or six” clubs have expressed interest in chasing his signature for 2025.

Martin is out of contract at the end of this campaign in a season where the Tigers have fallen away badly to currently sit 17th on the ladder with just one win.

The 32-year old has been linked with a move to the Gold Coast Suns to reunite with former coach Damien Hardwick, however, some close to Martin reportedly believe he’s “lost passion” to continue playing.

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The three-time Norm Smith medallist has also come under fire in recent weeks with criticism about his work rate and diminishing skills.

However, Thomas on Wednesday swiped back at Martin’s critics, saying it was “weak” to criticise Martin for any sign of form slump at the age of 32.

Speaking on Triple M, Thomas took a swipe at members of the footy media.

“When you get older, you’re not going to be as good as you once were,” he said.

“The perception is that he still should be winning games for the football club. If you’re going to be criticising blokes, criticise the blokes who should have taken his spot and fulfilled the potential.

“If you’re going to have a go at anyone, have a go at a (Shai) Bolton or whatever. Skip the champion, that’s the easy answer because it gets clout because of how good they’ve been.

“I think it’s a weak process trying to clip blokes on the way out rather than celebrate them.”

It comes as Martin approaches his 300-game milestone, currently sitting on 297 AFL matches.

According to reports the Tigers have approved plans to have Martin rested from upcoming games in order to have his milestone match played at the MCG in Round 14, rather than interstate.

Martin will reportedly not hold a press conference nor do any media interviews in the lead into his major milestone, however he has agreed to be in a photo with Richmond’s other 300-gamers — Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Kevin Bartlett and Francis Bourke.

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has made a public plea for Richmond fans to turn up in droves to celebrate Martin when he hits 300.

Lloyd said it has been “sad” to see Martin’s year unfolding as it has.

The Tigers have not won any of the eighth games Martin has featured in this season.

“Rather than celebrating what is to come, he’s just been under siege, more so than I’ve ever seen in his career before,” Lloyd said on Nine’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night.

“He looks disinterested. Is he working hard enough?”

Lloyd went on to say: “This is a guy that in three weeks’ time, we should be celebrating him like Scott Pendlebury. Because Scott is contributing as great as we’ve seen.

“I think it’s really sad.”

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