Dustin Martin is “all in” at Richmond as the AFL club considers big calls on the playing futures of other top-flight stars, coach Damien Hardwick says.
Veteran pair Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt are uncertain whether to continue next season amid reports the latter was “underwhelmed” by the Tigers’ contract offer.
It is possible they will follow fellow flag heroes Shane Edwards and Kane Lambert into retirement.
Richmond are also looking for new talent from rival clubs to bolster their roster.
They met GWS halfback Jacob Hopper on Monday and have also been linked with his Giants team-mate Tim Taranto.
Martin, who made a modest return from injury in the Tigers’ elimination final against Brisbane last week, has another two years on his contract.
But speculation continues to swirl around his playing future.
Hardwick tried to put that conversation to bed.
“One hundred per cent he’s in our camp,” Hardwick told Fox Footy.
“We probably get a little frustrated with the constant media speculation because it just adds clicks.”
“The reality is he’s with us for two more years. Get used to it.
“I don’t need to ask the question, I just know. This guy is so invested in our football club.
“We had a couple of meetings today talking about where our roster is going and it’s there. He’s totally on, absolutely.”
Martin’s father Shane passed away in December and the superstar spent six weeks on personal leave away from Richmond at the start of this season.
The 31-year-old missed a further seven games while sidelined with hamstring injuries at the end of the home and away campaign.
“Great players have a really good understanding of what makes them tick and he’s had a challenging year, no doubt, but he’s in the right mindset now,” Hardwick said.
“We’ve seen him push the switch on where he needs to go.
“He’s really excited about the offseason and the preseason and how he’s going to come back.”
Tuesday looms as a decision day for both Cochin and Riewoldt as Richmond continue exit interviews for players after the season.
Both were integral to the Tigers’ premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020, but while sentiment will be taken into account, Hardwick said the next push for the flag was the priority.
“We’re probably adamant that we’re going to let these guys make a hard decision,” Hardwick said.
“There will be some understanding of what that looks like in terms of the contract and then we will make that informed decision tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Hardwick would not discuss Giants shortstop Taranto directly, but confirmed the Tigers will try to work out a deal to bring Hopper to Punt Road.
“We need to improve our list like most clubs and we will go into the market to try and improve it as much as we can,” Hardwick said.