AFL hero has secret meeting with former coach as mystery surrounds his future
- Dustin Martin was spotted in a secret meeting with Damien Hardwick
- The Richmond superstar’s contract expires at the end of 2024
- Martin and Hardwick enjoyed huge success together at Punt Road
A photo that will likely haunt Richmond fans over the coming summer has emerged, with Tigers hero Dustin Martin spotted in a secret meeting with former coach Damien Hardwick.
Martin, 33, has been the subject of intense speculation over the past 18 months, with the two-time Brownlow Medalist reportedly keen to get away from the Melbourne bubble.
The footy star is contracted to Richmond until the end of the 2024 season, but his exit could be fast tracked this summer after he was seen with Hardwick, who has recently been appointed new coach of the Gold Coast Suns.
Martin and Hardwick enjoyed many happy years together at Richmond, and their strong bond could be key to convincing the midfielder to move to the AFL strugglers.
‘How about this photo – snapped just this afternoon,’ 7News’ Mitch Cleary said on Thursday.
‘An interesting subplot (to the finals) as Dusty weighs up what comes next for him.
‘It is seen by the Suns that he will stay at Richmond but one to watch as the silly season begins to heat up on the back of the finals series.’
Hardwick has previously insisted he will respect Martin’s contract with the Tigers, while former Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin said their reunion was nothing more than a catch up while Martin is enjoying a holiday in Queensland.
‘It’d be great to see him as a 300-plus game player for the Tigers in the yellow and black,’ Cotchin told Channel 7’s Talking Finals.
‘Is it some pre-retirement fun to go up there (and play for Gold Coast) and enjoy the sunshine at the very end of his career?
‘I’m not sure (but) I know that one of his values is loyalty.’