Dustin Martin, Damien Hardwick, Richmond Tigers, Gold Coast Suns reunion, Melbourne fishbowl, new start, reunited, salary cap, trade – TOTOCC

A possible Dusty-Dimma reunion on the Gold Coast has already hit a hurdle with the Suns reportedly unable to fit with star Tiger into their salary cap next season, Fox Footy’s Jon Ralph says.

Dustin Martin’s potential move north to “escape the Melbourne fishbowl” was one of the biggest topics after Damien Hardwick was officially confirmed as the Suns’ new coach, signing a six-year deal on Monday.

But Ralph says even if Martin wanted to move, he’d likely have to salary sacrifice to get there for 2024.

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“The big question is if he does the Al Pacino from Any Given Sunday – he jumps ship and he says I’m going to the expansion club and I’m taking the star quarterback,” he said On the Couch.

“I can tell you Dustin Martin is absolutely considering his future. He’s open to all things.

“He’s told multiple confidants he is excited by the idea of exploring maybe a move to the Gold Coast – a challenge anyway away from the Melbourne fishbowl.

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“The idea of 300 games at Richmond and fulfilling that long-term deal, every year of it like Lance Franklin, appeals to him. He’s working through all those things.

“His manager Ralph Carr tells Fox Footy that decision will come pretty quickly after Round 24. They’ll sit down and have a discussion.

“By the end of the next year they’ll have significant cap space. They haven’t got it right now.

“I think the Tigers would have to kick in (for a Suns contract next season) – which they won’t, or Dustin might have to take a bit of a pay cut – which he won’t.”

Ralph said while Martin wants to play “late into his 30s”, Nathan Buckley believes the three-time Norm Smith medallist should see out his Tigers deal first and then make the move in another year.

“It will be better for Damien Hardwick to set himself up at the Gold Coast without feeling like he needs to drag someone up from Victoria,” he said.

Hardwick said he was comfortable with the talent on the Suns’ list when asked about a potential Martin bid on AFL 360.

“He’s a pretty good player isn’t he?” he replied to host Gerard Whateley’s question.

“He’s certainly contacted at Richmond.

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“What I will say is I’ve done my due diligence on this footy club – we’ve got some incredible players here and some incredible young talent coming through.

“I’m really happy with the list we’ve got.

“There’s list management decisions that happen from time to time that we’ll work our way through. We’ll assess the talent as we go.”

Fox Footy’s Jonathan Brown said he can’t see the Martin move happening – especially given the Suns’ draft hand and what they need to secure their top-line Academy talent.

“I don’t know how Richmond would allow it to happen and how the AFL would sell it to the rest of the competition that they are not paying him any extra money over the cap,” he said.

“(And) I’m not sure the Gold Coast has the draft capital – they’ve put that aside for the gun Academy players that are coming through.”

Martin still has one-year to run on his big money deal at the Tigers.


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