- AFL superstar Dustin Martin will be staying at Richmond
- That’s according to former coach Damien Hardwick
- Pair were spotted together recently on the Gold Coast
- Hardwick new coach of the Suns, inked a six-year deal
Incoming Gold Coast Suns coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed Dustin Martin will be a Richmond player next year.
Martin, 32, is under contract with the Tigers until the end of next season – and the three-time premiership player is closing in on 300 appearances after making his debut in 2010.
‘Dustin is going to stay at Richmond,’ Hardwick told Channel 7.
‘Personally, my opinion is that is absolutely the right thing for him to do, which is an enormous positive for that footy club.
‘Me, like 17 other coaches, would love to have him on my side. But the fact of the matter is it’s great he’s going to play his 300th game at the Richmond Football Club next year.’
Incoming Gold Coast Suns coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed Dustin Martin will be a Richmond player next season
The news will relieve Tigers fans, as their superstar closes in on 300 appearances after making his debut in 2010
Hardwick and Martin recently caught up on the Gold Coast, sparking rumours the three-time Norm Smith medallist was seeking a fresh start on the Glitter Strip as he approaches the twilight of his decorated career.
Hardwick was also the head coach at Punt Rd from 2010 until this year. He walked away in May, citing exhaustion.
Meanwhile, the Richmond influence at the Gold Coast is seemingly increasing by the day – with former Tigers employees Wayne Campbell, Craig Cameron and Hayden Hill all now work in the Suns’ football department.
Hardwick – who inked a six-year contract last month, has also lured two premiership players to join his coaching staff.
Shaun Grigg will swap Geelong for Gold Coast while champion fullback Alex Rance this week revealed he had also agreed to help out in 2024 – as a coach.
‘I caught up with Alex, we are trying to get him to do some work in the leadership space and some work with our defenders,’ Hardwick said.
Martin was spotted ‘taking a little holiday’ on the Gold Coast recently, sparking talk he may join former coach Damien Hardwick at the Suns
‘He looks like he could still play, no question.’
Recently retired AFL legend Lance Franklin could also come into calculations as a part-time coach following his recent permanent move from Sydney.
‘It is something we’ll probably speak about in due course,’ Hardwick said.
‘If you can get great people through your organisation we’ll be silly not to look at it.’
‘He’s a wonderful ambassador for our game, an incredible player, but also an incredible person.’