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New Tigers coach Adem Yze leaves contract call to Dusty

3 minute read

Adem Yze won't force a contract decision out of Richmond star Dustin Martin, whose AFL future remains uncertain entering the final year of his existing deal.

ADEM YZE,
ADEM YZE,  Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

New Richmond coach Adem Yze wants to create an environment that will encourage superstar Dustin Martin to commit the rest of his AFL playing career to the club.

Martin is approaching the final season of his monster seven-year contract with the Tigers as former Hawthorn and Melbourne assistant Yze takes the reins for his first season as senior coach.

The 32-year-old triple-premiership hero is on track to next season become the seventh player in Richmond history to reach the 300-game milestone.

But his playing future beyond 2024 remains a subject of speculation, which ramped up in recent months when it became clear former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would take over at Gold Coast.

Tigers CEO Brendon Gale revealed this month the club will soon look to open negotiations with Martin's management over a new deal, though Yze said he won't force the process.

"We want Dusty to be happy and we want him to enjoy his footy," Yze told reporters on Wednesday.

"We want him to train well and play well.

"I'm not going to put pressure on a timeline of him making that decision.

"It's a big decision for him. I just hope that he gets the right feeling about not only myself but our coaching staff."

Arguably Richmond's greatest-ever player, Martin has returned for pre-season training in good shape and went through his paces with teammates at Punt Road on Wednesday.

He has 289 games under his belt and is set to join retired former teammates and fellow premiership stars Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin and Shane Edwards in the 300-game club.

Martin, who made his debut in 2010, could feasibly move into third place on the Tigers' all-time games-played list next year behind Riewoldt (347) and record-holder Kevin Bartlett (403).

Jack Dyer and Francis Bourke have also racked up a triple century for the club.

"He's an amazing Richmond person and we hope he's a Richmond man forever," Yze said.

"That's going to be his decision but my job is to give him the environment that he enjoys and knows that he can keep improving (here)."

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