Dusty making shock trip overseas
DUSTIN Martin has been ruled out of Richmond's top-eight clash against Port Adelaide with reports indicating he is set to travel to New Zealand to visit his father.
The Tigers announced on Thursday morning the midfield star would be sidelined for a week after experiencing calf soreness in the wake of the premier's 71-point win against Essendon last weekend.
Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon questioned whether Martin was given the weekend off for physical or personal reasons.
"I'm not buying that (he's been rested)," Lyon said. "It doesn't make sense to me why you'd manage him in a massive game for the Tigers."
Martin's father, Shane, was deported from Australia because he was a member of a motorcycle club.
Richmond premiership player Daniel Rioli is pressing for his long-awaited AFL recall.
The speedy forward needed surgery after breaking his foot in last year's grand final win over Adelaide.
He has played three VFL games including last weekend's first full hitout.
Richmond VFL coach Craig McRae said after Rioli's most recent match that "he looks really close now" to an AFL return.
The Power might recall Lindsay Thomas, who kicked four goals in the SANFL last week, Jasper Pittard and Jack Trengove.
Port had bad news this week, with draftee Sam Hayes needing a knee reconstruction after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament at Tuesday training. Hayes, who is yet to make his AFL debut, turns 19 on Saturday.
Collingwood are set to name high-flying defender Jeremy Howe for the Queen's Birthday blockbuster against Melbourne on Monday at the MCG.
While Howe (knee) is a strong change to return, Ben Reid and Travis Varcoe (hamstring) might remain out of the side.
Melbourne must find a replacement for high-profile recruit Jake Lever, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee reconstruction.
The Bombers could do with some good news after their Tigers mauling and Aaron Francis is on the verge of his first senior game this season.
The top-10 draft pick has had a solid block of VFL games after resuming from an extended break because of mental health issues.
David Zaharakis will be a long-term absentee with his shoulder injury.
Essendon play Brisbane away and Sunday's other game features Fremantle at home to Adelaide.
The injury-plagued Crows are set to lose Tom Lynch to a side strain, while Rory Laird is in doubt because of a broken bone in his hand.
Adelaide coach Don Pyke has no qualms about young midfielder Matt Crouch being his fourth captain this AFL season. The 23-year-old Crouch is set to lead Adelaide in Perth.
Crouch is the sole fit member of Adelaide's four-man leadership group. Regular captain Taylor Walker (back/glute) and vice-captain Rory Sloane (foot) have been missing for weeks.
But Pyke says there's no temptation to hand the captaincy to anyone other than Crouch, a 79-gamer in his first year in Adelaide's leadership group.
"It's an opportunity for Matty," Pyke said.
"He has come into the leadership group this year as a young man we know has got leadership capabilities, and he has already shown that at our footy club.
"Matt is in there for a reason. And we put him in there on the basis that we want to develop his leadership and here's an opportunity for him to actually do that."
Crouch, who won All-Australian honours last season, had already shown on-field leadership, he said.
"The first thing about leadership, of course, is to lead through your actions and lead through your performance," Pyke said.
The Crows will train on Thursday with doubt over halfback Rory Laird, who has a cracked bone in a hand.
"It's not displaced so it's not like he has got a clean crack that requires setting … this is just a crack," Pyke said.
"It is really just a matter of how comfortable he can get, so we will have a look at him and see how that goes."