Trent Cotchin announced his decision to step down as Richmond captain on Tuesday.
Cotchin, 31, bows out of the role as the club’s longest serving and most successful skipper having served for nine seasons including three premierships.
Vice-captain Jack Riewoldt was full of praise for the way Cotchin was at the head of a seismic shift in the culture and performance of the club after some lean years in his earlier days as skipper.
He also explains why the timing is right for Cotchin to move aside.
“It’s a long time as captain and can be credited with the shift of the whole football club, along with the coach Damien Hardwick,” Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.
“Arguably the greatest captain of Richmond of all-time, probably just behind Captain Blood Jack Dyer.
“Just did everything right. We don’t lose him as a player, he’s going to play on next year which is super exciting. The door opens for someone else to come in and fill what are really big shoes.
“The timing is great for the fact that there’s a few of the older crew who are going to be around for maybe one, two or three more years that can help the next person through, so it’s not going to be thrown to the wolves.
“We’ve got a lot of blokes to come in and pick up that role. I’m just excited to see who the boys think the next captain is going to be.”
Riewoldt says Cotchin had made the decision to step down recently before informing the playing group on Tuesday.
“He let the main group know today (Tuesday), but the more senior players have known for a week or so that was going to be the case,” he added.
“It’s a sad moment but also a big moment in terms of the step forward for our club. Whilst he’ll lose the captain logo next to his name, he’ll still lead from the front.
“It may free him to become a bit of a different leader in different areas of the football club which we’re excited about.”
Of his 268 career matches, Cotchin led the side out on 188 occasions.
Some of the obvious choices to replace him as captain include Jack Graham, Nick Vlastuin, Dylan Grimes and perhaps even Dustin Martin.