Dustin Martin in 'awkward' detail as Richmond fans call out 'terrible' look in AFL victory

The guernseys that Richmond wore against Adelaide proved a massive point of contention.

For all the hoo-ha about Richmond's decision not to play Dustin Martin against the Adelaide Crows on Thursday night, it turns out they might be better off without him. The Tigers scored a stunning 12.7 (79) to 10.11 (71) victory over the Crows at Adelaide Oval, despite a lengthy injury list and the absence of superstar veteran Martin.

Richmond decided not to play Martin on Thursday night in what would have been his 300th game, instead opting to keep him on ice so he could celebrate the milestone at the MCG next weekend in front of home fans. The decision proved very divisive, with some claiming Martin would let his teammates down by not playing against the Crows.

But Richmond actually thrived in Martin's absence, piling more misery on the lowly Crows. With 14 players unavailable, Richmond produced a six-goal third-term to blitz the home team and hang on for victory. Touted as potential finalists pre-season, Adelaide have just four wins - only two more than the Tigers.

Dustin Martin, pictured here alongside Richmond and Adelaide players.
Richmond beat Adelaide without Dustin Martin, but Tigers fans were fuming over the jumpers they wore. Image: Channel 7/Getty

In an awkward twist for Martin, the Tigers have won both of the last two games they've played without him - and lost all 10 of the previous games he has played. Martin was sick during the week but would have been rested for the Crows game anyway.

"We did win, so he might have to come back through the VFL," coach Adam Yze joked post-match. "But in all seriousness it's a massive week for our club and it's one that we want to celebrate one of our greatest players. We do that really well at our footy club ... celebrate our people. And this is an opportunity to celebrate one of our best.

"We will obviously have an amazing week leading up to it. Our players will want to play well for him and make it a big occasion for him. So yeah, we're not going to shy away from the fact that we want it to be a big spectacle and we want to obviously play well for him."

Yze lauded the spirit of his players after getting just the second win of his head-coaching career. "Just really proud of the players," he said. "To see them get some reward for effort ... they really play with their heart on their sleeves."


The only point of contention for Richmond fans during the win was a bizarre decision around the guernseys they wore. The Tigers wore their predominantly yellow 'clash strip' on Thursday night, featuring white numbers and a black sash that wrapped all the way around.

The yellow strip normally has black numbers because the white numbers are too hard to read on a yellow background. But this marked the first time the black sash has wrapped around the back of the guernsey not just the front, meaning black numbers weren't possible.

The Richmond Tigers, pictured here in their yellow jumpers.
The Tigers wore their yellow jumpers with a black sash wrapped around the back and white numbers. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

So on Thursday night it featured white numbers for the first time since the strip was first introduced in 2015. And it didn't go down well with fans, who were left fuming that the numbers were virtually impossible to read while watching on TV.

Richmond and Adelaide players during their AFL clash.
The Richmond players' numbers were virtually impossible to see from a distance. Image: Channel 7

"Anyone else finding the Richmond yellow jumper with white numbers and black sash on the back a bit odd?" one person wrote on social media. Another commented: "Just flicked on the AFL. Richmond in the ‘clash’ jersey. Yellow, with a black sash. And white numbers. Incredibly poor design if you’re not a regular watcher of the club and trying to actually identify players by number."

A third wrote: "White numbers on a predominantly yellow background is a shocking look. Impossible to see at a distance. Never to be seen again." While a fourth added: “Who was the genius who thought putting the black sash on the Richmond clash jumper was a good idea? It looks horrible.”