News surfaced yesterday that gun Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin’s manager will today tell the club that his client wants to put contract talks on hold until the end of the season.
Tigers fans may have had a sleepless night last night thinking about other AFL superstars over recent seasons who went down the same path and eventually left their club; the likes of Gary Ablett Jnr, Lance Franklin and Patrick Dangerfield.
But not all hope is lost for Richmond.
For every Ablett, Franklin and Dangerfield, there’s a bunch of blokes who have remained with their club after putting contract talks on hold – see Michael Hurley last year.
What Richmond fans should, and will be concerned about, is the form of their club in 2017, because their fortunes this season, and Martin’s future at the club go hand-in-hand.
When the rest of his teammates were floundering, Dusty had a standout year in 2016.
He was racking up 30+ possession games and hitting the scoreboard, with his form eventually earning him his first Jack Dyer medal.
Off-field issues aside, Martin has always been regarded as a star of the game, and every single club in the AFL would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t ask the question to his manager about acquiring the tough on-baller.
Currently on a reported $600k a season, Martin has the capacity to earn around the million-dollar mark next season.
As a restricted free agent Richmond have the right to match what ever offer comes his way, but it’s difficult seeing Richmond finding another $400,000 in their stacked salary cap.
So it comes down to loyalty - a commodity that is decreasing rapidly in the AFL system.
The Tigers have provided everything possible to Martin; a start in the AFL, a roof over his head, off-field guidance, support when he has stuffed up off-field, and a healthy pay packet.
Forget the tour of GWS’ facilities in 2013; Dusty loves life at Tigerland, but the point remains that he’s a competitor, and even at 25, he wants to see his side competing in Grand Finals before his time in the AFL is up.
Richmond simply can’t afford another Brett Deledio situation; they need to play finals footy again in 2017.
Because if they don’t, and a team with an exciting list and ample salary cap space, dangles a million dollar carrot in front of Dusty’s face, his loyalty will be pushed to its limits.
And a million dollars gets you a hell of a lot of kneck tats.
Digital Editor, The Greenfield Post
Ryan is the Digital Editor of The Greenfield Post and the person you should annoy if you want to write for us.