Cryptic Dustin Martin statement amid doubt over Richmond champion’s future

Dustin Martin’s manager has released a rare and cryptic statement amid doubt around the Richmond superstar’s future.

One of the modern greats of the AFL, Martin is facing speculation he has “lost the hunger” as he battles through the latter stages of his career.

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A Norm Smith medallist in three Richmond premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020, Martin’s place in AFL history is secure.

But the 32-year-old is struggling through 2024 to date, with a calf injury partly limiting his production as he crawls towards 300 career games.

Martin, who missed the opening round clash with the Gold Coast and round three against the Swans, has appeared in seven matches this season, which have all been defeats.

He is averaging 19.4 disposals, compared to a career average of 24.4 over 15 seasons, and has kicked just four goals, with two coming in his season-opening loss to Carlton.

Sitting on 296 games and off-contract at the end of this season, Martin is earning around $1.35 million this year and it’s unclear if he will play on in 2025.

Martin’s manager Ralph Carr wrote on X on Wednesday: “Will always be the people’s champion,”

“Three flags, three Norm Smiths, one Brownlow, All-Australian, MVP, cannot be wrong …”

The cryptic post also included a photo of Martin.

Carr told News Corp last month: “Dustin at this point has no intention of retiring, and he has never lost his love for AFL football.”

If Martin was to re-sign, his salary could be halved as Richmond look to the future. The injury ravaged Tigers currently sit 17th on the AFL ladder.

“Footy clubs aren’t a charity,” Kane Cornes said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified on Monday.

“(Richmond coach Adem Yze) has been pretty adamant, he’s said a couple of times one of the jobs he wants to tick off is to extend Dustin Martin’s contract. Is that the right call?”

Matthew Lloyd jumped in first, questioning the type of money Martin could earn if he continued on into 2025.

“Adem Yze has to be stronger than he’s ever been before about what is best for Richmond,” the Essendon great said.

“And I’m not sure spending $750,000 on Dustin Martin is best for Richmond.”

AFL journalist Caroline Wilson immediately jumped on that figure.

“There’s no way they would spend that money on Dustin Martin,” she said.

“$500 (thousand) absolute tops. At the moment he’s limping towards 300 (games). He wouldn’t get any more than that, I am certain, if he’s playing the way he is now.

“He’s limping towards 300 and the way he’s playing now, you probably wouldn’t offer him another deal.”

The Bulldogs thumped the Tigers by 91 points last weekend and Richmond’s injury list is seriously lengthy.

Liam Baker, Dylan Grimes, James Graham, Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto, Tom Lynch are the senior players currently out of action.

Originally published as Cryptic Dustin Martin statement amid doubt over Richmond champion’s future

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