As Martin’s value continues to rise after a very impressive start to the season, the offer the Tigers put forward to the 25-year-old before the season began now looks as though it will need to be revised if they want to keep him at Punt Road.
King says Martin now has the ability to adapt to life outside of the Richmond football club, after spending the past 12 months without his father Shane after he was deported back to New Zealand.
“If you had said to me even one year ago that Dusty would do well away from the Tigers, I would have had my doubts,” King told Fairfax.
“But I think a lot has happened in the past 12 months. He’s had to learn to live without his best mate.
“When your best mate leaves you, you either fall in a heap or you rise to the occasion and this, for him, has given him no other choice but to rise to the occasion. I hope he stays but it’s going to be a tough one.”
Martin is coming off a match-winning effort of 40 disposals, 15 clearances and two goals against the Eagles on Saturday, and has been a major factor in Richmond’s 3-0 start to the season.
The midfielder remains one of the hottest free agents on the market alongside Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe, although King believes one skill Martin has sets him apart from most others in the league.
“The thing about Dusty, even more than great champions like Ablett and Judd, is that he can win a game off his own boot just by moving forward. And football has become a release valve for him because for two hours he doesn’t have to think about the issues with his dad,” said King.
“His leadership and the way it has improved and the way he has learnt to adapt has just impressed me so much.
“He has matured so much. He used to take a lot of things to heart, but he rises above that now.
“He’s a leader in the making and when you see him around the club, he’s always working with the younger players or chatting to them or helping them.
“The sad part for Richmond is he might realise he can play footy somewhere else if the offer is there.”