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“Somewhat of a surprise”: Cornes reacts to Dustin Martin contract reports


Richmond are set to open contract talks with three-time Norm Smith Medallist Dustin Martin.

The seven-year mega-deal signed by the superstar in 2017 is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season, but the Tigers are getting on the front foot to tie the 32-year-old to the club for life.

While the midfielder has been linked to a move north to join ex-coach Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast, Richmond CEO Brendon Gale told the Herald Sun that the club will begin discussions with Martin’s management about 2025 and beyond shortly.

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes was a huge fan of Martin’s 2024 season but he believes talks should be put on ice until mid-year.

After Richmond finished 13th in 2023, Cornes can’t see Martin playing in Richmond’s next premiership and he’s unsure whether the midfielder will be motivated playing in a team that may not taste success in the next few years.

“Richmond are poised to open up contract extension talks with superstar midfielder Dustin Martin who had a great year last year,” Cornes said on SEN Sportsday.

“It is somewhat of a surprise (because of reports linking him to Gold Coast).

“I think it's just a bit early. It's just a bit early for both (club and player).

“If I was Dustin Martin, I'd just be happy to wait perhaps till mid-year.

“I don't know him, but he feels like the player who's not going to be motivated playing in a team that's losing a lot and that's where I think Richmond are going to be.

“I could be completely wrong on that … but that's why I would wait.”

While Cornes doesn’t think signing Martin long-term is a risk for Richmond, he pondered whether the club could benefit from the superstar departing.

Even though the side would no doubt be worse on-field immediately following a departure, Cornes pondered whether the club could reset with some cap space and draft picks heading their way in a trade.

“For Richmond, I'd wait as well. I don't think there's much risk in going again with Dustin Martin. But what if you could get a good draft pick for him?” Cornes asked.

“What if you could clear up some space? What if you did need a bit of a reset?

“It might be the ideal time to send Dustin Martin off after 300 games.

“I just think to do it now before the season has started would be a bit premature.

“I'm on the fence here. I'm not calling it one way or the other than to say I’d just put it on the back burner if I was Dustin and I'd put it on the back burner perhaps until around Round 11 or 12 if I were the Tigers.”

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy was fully in support of Richmond’s push to re-sign their man and he hopes Martin retires a one-club legend.

“I don't see a win for the Tigers in getting rid of Dustin,” Healy said.

“I'm with Brendon Gale on this. Sign him up, make him a long-term (offer).

“There's no Richmond side that's better to watch than one that's got Dustin Martin in it.”

Martin has played 289 games for the Tigers. He averaged 23.6 disposals and 1.1 goals from 20 games in the 2023 season.

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