AFL Rd 1 - Richmond v Carlton
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tackled by Sam Walsh of the Blues during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his potential output from Damien Hardwick, superstar Dustin Martin will play against Geelong on Saturday afternoon, after missing the Tigers' clash with the Blues last week due to the flu.

Speaking to the media, Hardwick said despite being potentially not at his best, it is a "bonus" for the Tigers to have Martin in the team.

"How he comes out, we're not too sure," Hardwick said.

"But we're pretty confident it (Martin's best) is not too far away.

"What we have got to realise, the level of expectation on Dustin is incredibly high.

"The way he plays the game even at 60 per cent is far above probably most, to be fair.

"He has been playing his role. We have been winning games with him playing that role. Just him being in the side is a bonus for us."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Damien Hardwick, Senior Coach of the Tigers and Dustin Martin of the Tigers embrace before the 2019 AFL Second Preliminary Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Hardwick also said that veteran key defender Robbie Tarrant is "likely" to feature for the side this weekend despite suffering a hand injury against the Blues which required plates to be inserted.

"He's a tough bugger," Hardwick said.

"He did that injury in the first three to four minutes and got an injection, had a plate inserted on the Friday or Saturday.

He is looking likely at the moment."

However, the Tigers coach said the club will monitor Tarrant's progress and leave a decision on his selection until later in the week.

"It's not the best thing to look at, to be fair, his hand at the moment," Hardwick said.

"But obviously with the plates in there it does make it stronger.

"He has just got to feel comfortable enough to play and if he is, we will pick him.

"He's a guy with great experience, has been around these sorts of things before, so he will have a better understanding than most about what is required to get the job done."

The sixth-place Tigers will face fourth-placed Geelong in what will be a crucial match on Saturday afternoon (4:35 pm AEST) at the MCG.