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Dustin Martin blow confirmed as Richmond fans rocked by Trent Cotchin move in AFL

Dustin Martin has been ruled out of the Tigers' round one clash with the Suns.

Dustin Martin has been ruled out of Richmond's round one AFL clash amid news retired captain Trent Cotchin has been hired by the Brisbane Lions to share his leadership expertise. The Lions fell at the final hurdle last year, losing to Collingwood by four points in the final, extending their AFL premiership drought to two decades.

The three-time flag-winning captain will work with the Lions leadership group, which consists of co-captains Lachie Neale and Harris Andrews, vice-captains Hugh McCluggage and Josh Dunkley, and Charlie Cameron, Cam Rayner, Brandon Starcevich, Jarrod Berry and Oscar McInerney. Cotchin, 33, was in attendance for the Lions Gabba training session on Tuesday where it was confirmed he would be on board for the new season.

Trent Cotchin will work closely with the Brisbane Lions leadership group, as they chase an elusive flag in 2024, while his former club Richmond Tigers have been dealt an early blow with Dustin Martin in doubt for the Tigers' opening-round clash with the Suns. Image: Getty
Trent Cotchin will work closely with the Brisbane Lions leadership group as they chase an elusive flag in 2024, while his former club Richmond Tigers have been dealt a massive blow with Dustin Martin ruled out of the Tigers' opening-round clash with the Suns. Image: Getty

Lions chief executive Greg Swann confirmed Cotchin - who retired last year after playing 306 games for the Tigers - will be present for their Melbourne matches as well as fly to Brisbane "once or twice a month". "Everyone's looking for a little advantage, and hopefully with his input … he can pass on some good advice to our leaders," Swann said. "He's a three-time premiership-winning captain, so he knows what it takes to win. His role is to get us from nearly there to there.

"We think we're in good shape. There's a lot of hunger there. We've had a taste (of playing in the grand final), and I think these guys want to have another taste, but be holding the (premiership) cup up at the end, but there's a long way to go." Richmond fans were devastated to see their beloved club legend in Lions colours, only months after he called time on his illustrious playing career.

Dustin Martin ruled out of the Tigers' match against the Suns

Richmond announced on Thursday that they will be without Dustin Martin for their season-opener against the Gold Coast Suns after he suffered a knock in training. Martin went for precautionary scans which came back all clear on Tuesday but with Richmond facing the Gold Coast on Saturday and then playing Carlton five days later, the Tigers viewed it as too soon to risk the 32-year-old.

Tigers coach Adem Yze said it was just "too high" of a risk to play him. "He's obviously a bit sore," Yze said on Thursday. "The risk of him playing this weekend is going to be too high.

"He's too important for us to go and push really hard for round zero up there, flying up, all those sorts of things have come into calculation. Knowing him, he'd be really anxious and angry about the fact that he's not playing because he loves playing the game.

"Irrelevant of playing Gold Coast, it's round one and he wants to get started. But we've just got to be really smart (with Martin)." Martin will join Tom Lynch (foot) and skipper Toby Nankervis (plantar fasciitis) in missing the opening round. He played 20 games last year after being limited to nine and 16 in 2022 and 2021 respectively.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Trent Cotchin of the Tigers leaves the field after playing his final game during the round 23 AFL match between Richmond Tigers and North Melbourne Kangaroos at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on August 19, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Trent Cotchin retired at the end of 2023 after leading the Tigers to three premierships. (Daniel Pockett via Getty Images)

Damien Hardwick reunion won't be frosty say Richmond stars

Tigers vice-captain Liam Baker says there won't be any bad blood between Tigers players and Damien Hardwick ahead of the highly anticipated round one clash. Hardwick abruptly left the Tigers in the middle of the AFL season last year, stating he had done all he could at the club and needed a break. The triple-premiership coach then just months later signed on as the coach of the Gold Coast Suns on a six-year-deal.

Both Dion Prestia and Baker dismissed suggestions that the reunion with Hardwick would be a frosty affair. "I don't think so - it's not the '80s anymore," Prestia said. "We're up there to try and win the game so we're not going to be too friendly with him. But it'd be business as usual."

The Tigers expect the Suns to bring the hard-tackling, pressure-focused style that earned Richmond three premierships under Hardwick. "We probably know exactly what they want to do, knowing that we did it for eight years," Prestia said.

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"And everything we've watched has been pretty similar to what we're used to. So excited to get up there and play."

with AAP

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