Tigers find form before AFL flag defence

Dustin Martin (R) has impressed for Victoria in the All-Stars AFL Origin bushfire relief match.
Dustin Martin (R) has impressed for Victoria in the All-Stars AFL Origin bushfire relief match.

The sight of Dustin Martin terrorising opponents again was enough to warm Richmond fans' hearts on a cool February evening in Melbourne.

Always at home on the big stage, Martin strutted out in the Big V for the first time and played a lead role as a show full of stars came out for AFL's bushfire relief match.

The dual Norm Smith medallist kicked two goals (and three behinds) from 23 disposals and had a hand in several others.

He was not alone, with clubmate Trent Cotchin also swapping his Tiger stripes to turn it on for Victoria in their 46-point win over the All-Stars.

The skipper of club and state had 21 disposals and six clearances in a strong return to action as Victoria won the match 24.10 (154) to 15.18 (108).

The pair sent a warning to their AFL opponents that they are fit and ready to hit the ground running in Richmond's upcoming premiership defence, which kicks off in just 20 days.

They will also take bragging rights back to Punt Road, with flag teammates Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards on the losing All-Stars side.

Riewoldt outdid his usual partner-in-crime Tom Lynch with 2.2 to Victorian Lynch's 1.2, while Edwards had 17 touches.

All-Australian defender Bachar Houli (12 possessions) was quieter for Victoria, but this night was never going to be about the backmen.

There was one blot on Martin's copy book when, after being hit lace-out at full-forward by Andrew Gaff, he played on and hooked his snap around the body too far. A simple goal went begging.

Coach Damien Hardwick would have been tearing his hair out had it been a match for premiership points.

Australian Associated Press