Dustin Martin in new AFL retirement speculation after manager's unusual message to critics

The Richmond legend has been at the centre of retirement speculation this year.

Dustin Martin's manager has sent the AFL world into a spin after a cryptic message has prompted more speculation the Richmond great will retire soon. Fans have been speculating this year whether Martin might retire after this season having struggled with injury and his form for the battling Tigers.

He is averaging 19.4 disposals this year, compared to his career average of 24.4, and has kicked four goals. Two of those came in his season opener against Carlton. Martin has played seven games this season and missed four as he battles a calf injury. Furthermore, Richmond's season is spiralling having won just a single game in nine.

Dustin Martin's manager has sent a cryptic statement around the Richmond great's achievements amid speculation from AFL fans over his future. (Getty Image)
Dustin Martin's manager has sent a cryptic statement around the Richmond great's achievements amid speculation from AFL fans over his future. (Getty Image)

Despite this, Martin is approaching his 300th AFL game milestone and the Richmond great's legacy is secured as one of the all-time greats. Having won three Norm Smith medals in three Richmond premierships, Martin will go down as a legend of the game.

However, Martin is off contract at the end of the season and is currently earning a whopping $1.35 million a year. Former AFL player Matthew Lloyd questioned whether Richmond should weigh-up offering Martin another contract after his recent performances.

In April, Kane Cornes claimed Martin could go out and have a brilliant farewell having reached his 300th game. "It's the perfect time for him to retire," Cornes said on Footy Classified. "It's perfect. Have a great victory lap for the second-half of the year and get to 300 games."

And now, his manager Ralph Carr has delivered a message - potentially to the star's critics - on Martin's achievements accompanied with a photo of the great. “Will always be the people’s champion,” Ralph sent out on Platform X. "Three flags, three Norm Smiths, one Brownlow, All-Australian, MVP, cannot be wrong …”

And Martin's manager's words have only further prompted speculation that Martin might not have much time left in the game. Martin is only 32 years old and could still offer more to a number of clubs. This is despite Carr already attempting to quell retirement speculation earlier this year. Even though fans have been left pondering the great's future, outgoing Richmond CEO Brendon Gale has reassured fans that the Tigers want him to remain at the club.

Dustin Martin celebrates.
Dustin Martin's future has been the talk of the AFL world.

On Wednesday, departing Richmond CEO Gale addressed the club's status and was asked about how many of the senior players are feeling with the squad languishing in 17th place. This comes after so much success in recent years. While he admitted the senior places are missing the feeling of playing in those big games, he was sure the club was moving in the right direction.


And he also made a big call to claim Richmond want to make sure Martin remains a one club player. But it isn't entirely down to them. “Our preference will be that he stays at this football club and becomes a Tiger for life,” Gale said on SEN Radio.

“He’s an icon of our club and the game. A lot of that will depend on what Dustin thinks and feels, his management too and Blair Hartley who is close with him.”

In April, Carr spoke about the speculation around Martin and attempted to quieten the rumours. This comes as many suggested Martin may have lost his passion for the game. “Dustin at this point has no intention of retiring, and he has never lost his love for AFL football," he told The Herald Sun. “The Richmond Football Club, the AFL and family has been an incredible support to him and I personally know that he wants to stay in the game as long as possible. I also want to thank all supporters of the game for supporting ‘the people’s champion’ Dustin Martin.