Image: AAP/Joel Carrett
Dustin Martin is “all in” at Richmond as the AFL club weighs up big calls on the playing futures of other premiership stars, coach Damien Hardwick says.
Veteran pair Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt are not certain to continue next season amid reports the latter has been “low-balled” by the Tigers’ contract offer.
It is possible they could follow fellow flag heroes Shane Edwards and Kane Lambert into retirement.
Richmond are also on the lookout for new talent from rival clubs to bolster their list.
They met with GWS midfielder Jacob Hopper on Monday and have also been linked with his Giants teammate Tim Taranto.
Martin, who made a modest return from injury in the Tigers’ elimination final defeat to Brisbane last week, is contracted for a further two years.
But speculation continues to swirl around his playing future.
Hardwick attempted to put that talk to bed.
“One hundred per cent he’s in our camp,” Hardwick told Fox Footy.
“It probably frustrates us a little bit the constant media speculation because it just adds a click.
“The reality is he’s with us for another two years. Get used to it.
“I don’t have to ask the question, I just know. This guy is so invested in our footy club.
“We had some meetings today and we’re talking about where our list is going and he’s in there. He’s all in, absolutely.”
Martin’s father Shane died in December and the superstar spent six weeks’ personal leave away from Richmond early this season.
The 31-year-old missed another seven games while sidelined by hamstring injuries at the end of the home-and-away campaign.
“The great players have a really good understanding of what makes them tick and he’s had a challenging year, no question, but he is in the right mindset now,” Hardwick said.
“We’ve seen him flick the switch about where he needs to get to.
“He’s really excited about the off-season and the pre-season, and how he’s going to come back.”
Tuesday looms as decision day for both Cotchin and Riewoldt as Richmond continue post-season player exit interviews.
Both were integral to the Tigers’ 2017, 2019 and 2020 premierships but while sentiment will be considered, Hardwick said the next flag push is the priority.
“We’re probably firmly in the camp that we’ll let those guys make a firm decision,” Hardwick said.
“There’ll be some understanding of what that looks contract-wise and then we’ll make that informed decision tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Hardwick would not directly discuss Giants gun Taranto but confirmed the Tigers will try to do a deal to get Hopper to Punt Road.
“We need to improve our list, like most clubs, and we’ll be into the market to try and improve it as much as we can,” Hardwick said.