Prestia, nursing a sore Achilles tendon, said Martin had also benefited from the pre-finals bye and was ready for the big stage that is September.
“We just started to get on a roll and we all started to hit some form at the right time. I don’t know if it was part of us just getting him (Martin) more involved in the game … it would be pretty hard after everything that he has won over the last couple of years to keep going,” he said.
“There is not much more motivation you need than to get another premiership under your belt.
“His last six or seven weeks have been amazing. He is a big-time player. This week off, I would say has freshened everyone up and got everyone ready to go.”
The Tigers have the chance of redemption, having fallen in last year’s preliminary final to Collingwood when the opportunity of back-to-back flags beckoned. The first major step will be the qualifying final at the Gabba.
The home side has an imposing 10-1 record there this year but Prestia, speaking at the launch of Kayo’s AFL finals coverage, pointed to the Tigers’ impressive form on the road.
“We have some really good games interstate the last couple of years. We were able to beat Port Adelaide in round four. We set up our season. (Trent) Cotchin, Dusty (Martin), Jack (Riewoldt) didn’t play but we got the win interstate and knocked Freo off as well when they were in some good form over in Perth,” he said.
“Whatever we are doing is working for our interstate games, so we will head there (Brisbane) on Friday afternoon. I think it’s going to be 30-degrees, which is going to be nice. We played in the wet five out of last six games, so it’s going to be nice to have a dry game.
“Wet weather footy probably suits us more than anyone – it’s just one of those things. Maybe our game style suits the wet a bit more … but I don’t think it has too much effect.”
Lions’ onballer Lachie Neale had 51 touches, including 32 handballs, when the clubs last met but Prestia said the Tigers would still not impose a hard tag. Instead, it’s about limiting Neale’s space.
“It’s about playing him a bit differently – I think we probably gave him a bit too much space at stoppages. I think he had eight or nine clearances in the first half,” he said.
“People will probably say his impact was not that great but his giving it (the ball) to players like (Dayne) Zorko and (Hugh) McCluggage on the outside who can really damage you. As a midfield group, it’s being able to negate his impact at stoppages, not giving him space to do his thing.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.