Nick Riewoldt highlights $600,000 truth amid calls for Dustin Martin to retire from AFL

Kane Cornes reckons the time has come for the Richmond superstar to call it quits.

Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna have both rejected calls from Kane Cornes that Dustin Martin should retire from the AFL at the end of the 2024 season. The 32-year-old Martin is in the twilight of his career and hasn't been at his best over the last couple of seasons.

In a column for The Age last week, Port Adelaide champion Kornes said it's time for Martin to bite the bullet and make this season his last. “I just think it's time in terms of there's nothing left for him to achieve,” Cornes added on SEN radio.

Nick Riewoldt and Dustin Martin.
Nick Riewoldt reckons there's no way Dustin Martin will walk away from his $600,000 per season contract. Image: Getty

“And with where the club is at, they're about to go through a brutal stage I would have thought. If we're looking at Hawthorn, North and West Coast (in terms of rebuilding clubs), Richmond are not even there yet. They need to completely bottom out and start again.

“Does Dustin Martin want to go through that and then have questions over his form like he will get like Buddy Franklin had when he played probably one more year (than he should have)? Just like Scott Pendlebury is facing now to a lesser extent.

“He's about to turn 33. Does he want to go through this at Richmond? Does he want to turn up to the club loss after loss with everything that he's done in the game?”

Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna shoot down Dustin Martin call

But according to Riewoldt and Montagna, there's no way that Martin will walk away from his $600,000 per season contract. “I understand the sentiment because you want your champs to go out as you remember them," Riewoldt said on the 'Footy Talk' podcast. "But if I’m Dusty, I’m milking this (contract) absolutely dry. What else is he going to do? He’s always going to command big bucks."

Montagna asked: “Where is he going to go earn $600,000 in the real world?” Riewoldt added: “The real world is a bit tougher out there than the footy world. I’d suggest Dusty stays in the game as long as he possibly can and milk it dry.”


Montagna said Martin wouldn't be short of motivation because he knows he can make another $1.2 million over the next two years. "That is motivation, as much as we don't want to go there," Montagna added. "You're still allowed to do that as a professional athlete."

Dustin Martin.
Dustin Martin in action for Richmond. (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Kane Cornes questions Dustin Martin's motivation to keep playing

Kornes was also quick to shoot down suggestions Martin should switch to a flag contender in the hope of winning a fourth AFL premiership. “You might go, well, he should go to another club,” Cornes said. “But how often does that work at 33 years old? How often is that successful?

“Luke Hodge may have been successful. But I'd just much rather have seen him (Hodge) finish at Hawthorn as the champion that he was.

“Is [Martin] fully motivated? Is he fully invested? Does he turn up to train? Does he want to be there? Is he good for the group? Is his form going to be strong enough?

“He's down about 10 possessions a game (this year). I don't think he's having anywhere near the impact that he had last year, albeit it's two games. It's going to be hard for him in a poor side to have the impact that he's had.

“He plays game 300 this year, it's a great time to give him one of the great laps of honour. I think the question for him is, am I motivated to turn up and be the best that I can be and be all in with this group that's going to be down the bottom? I just think it's a good time for him to go out on his own terms like how Shane Crawford or Joel Selwood went out, there's not too many that do it on their own terms."