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Richmond bosses play down injury cloud swirling around star Dustin Martin

Staff writers, September 17, 2018 4:58PM News Corp Australia Network

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Dustin Martin training away from the main group at Richmond training. Picture: Michael Klein media_cameraDustin Martin training away from the main group at Richmond training. Picture: Michael Klein

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AFL: Richmond superstar Dustin Martin has trained away from the main group amid* growing concerns about his fitness for Friday night’s AFL preliminary final against Collingwood.

Martin, who suffered a cork (deep bruise) during the Tigers’ qualifying final win over Hawthorn, took part in stationary* kicking drills before yesterday’s session was closed to media and was later spotted jogging laps with backman Nathan Broad.

It comes after Martin left the training track early last Friday, failing to take part in an hour-long match simulation* session. But Richmond footy boss Neil Balme says the only way Martin won’t play against Collingwood is “if someone kidnaps him before the game”.

“He hasn’t got a problem, mate,” Balme said. “I reckon I can nearly put my house on the fact he will play on Friday.

“How many times do I have to say it? He’s only missed four games in seven years.

“The only way he won’t play is if someone kidnaps him before the game and I think that’s unlikely.”

Andrew Fifita of the Sharks may have to step up as captain. media_cameraAndrew Fifita of the Sharks may have to step up as captain.

NRL: Rugby league great Michael Ennis has backed Andrew Fifita to “rise to the occasion” if the prop is handed the Cronulla captaincy for Friday night’s preliminary final in Melbourne.

With skipper Paul Gallen racing the clock to recover from a shoulder injury and fellow veteran Luke Lewis also under an injury cloud (calf), it could potentially leave the Sharks’ leadership structure in ruins given co-captain Wade Graham is also injured.

I don’t know if Gallen is going to play or if Lewis is going to play,” Ennis said. “And with no Wade also, Andrew becomes a vital part of the Cronulla side.

“To beat Melbourne you need to be at your absolute best.

“And I believe Andrew becomes the X factor along with Valentine Holmes with no Wade Graham in the side.”

Mitch McCarron of the Boomers shoots during the World Cup Qualifier match against Kazakhstan. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraMitch McCarron of the Boomers shoots during the World Cup Qualifier match against Kazakhstan. Picture: Getty Images

BASKETBALL: Australia has moved one step closer to qualifying for next year’s basketball World Cup after defeating Kazakhstan 94-41 in Bendigo.

The Boomers were too powerful for the visitors last night as they took top spot in Group F of Asian Zone qualification with a 7-1 win- loss record.

Wins in their next two home qualifiers in November and December would guarantee Australia a top-three finish and a place at the 2019 World Cup in China.

Melbourne United recruit Mitch McCarron and Victorian Nathan Sobey scored 15 points each, with Daniel Johnson (14) and Nick Kay (13) finishing well under the basket.

GLOSSARY

amid: in the middle of

stationary: staying still

simulation: imitation or pretend

QUICK QUIZ

1. How many matches has Dustin Martin missed in seven years?

2. Name the injuries Cronulla’s Gallen and Lewis are suffering.

3. Who were the top scorers for the Boomers last night?

VCOP ACTIVITY
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think Richmond can defeat Collingwood if Dustin Martin is injured and can’t play?

No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

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