Talk surrounding a Dustin Martin trade to one of the New South Wales clubs “will not quit,” according to Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph. But how a deal could actually materialize is complex.
Ralph reported on Fox Footy on Friday night that Tigers football boss Tim Livingstone told him Martin, who contracted until 2024, is “settled” at Richmond and enjoying being back around his teammates after his mental health break.
And Sydney has reportedly all but ruled out a move for the three-time Norm smith medalist.
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“I can tell you categorically we haven’t had any discussions so I think it’s highly unlikely,” Swans chairman Adam Pridham told Fox Footy, per Ralph.
“There’s not a great history of clubs bringing people in at that age to try and grab a premiership, and it works.”
As Ralph highlighted, the price for Martin would likely be too high for the Swans – both in terms of what he’d cost at the trade table and fitting his lucrative contract into their salary cap.
“Sydney has two first rounders, Pick 10 and 18, (the latter) which is Melbourne’s first-round pick. They’ll look to pay Buddy Franklin around $ 500,000, down from $ 900,000, ”Ralph told Fox Footy.
“They’ve got expiring deals – Josh Kennedy, Callum Sinclair, Sam Reid, Lewis Taylor, Ben Ronke, Sam Naismith – they’ve got some cap space.
“But Martin is due $ 2.6 million in the next two years, he wouldn’t take less, the Richmond footy club wouldn’t pay him elsewhere. And so if – and it’s a massive if – the Swans gave up two first rounders, Richmond would have three first rounders and a North Melbourne second rounder, they could start to rebuild again. “
However Lions great Jonathan Brown believes the Swans’ track record of landing big names suggests they could launch a bid.
And he thinks Martin’s durability means he could play for several more years.
“One club that has gotten it done over the journey in getting big names is Sydney… they’ve had‘ Plugger ’(Tony Lockett), they’ve had Barry Hall, and obviously Buddy Franklin,” Brown said on Fox Footy.
“They could easily get that deal done. Yes, Martin might be owed $ 2.6 million for the next two years, they could offer him a longer-term deal, extend that out and get it through.
“The other thing you look at is yes he is 31, but he’s different, he’s been very resilient. He’s played 20 plus games every season, you look at his legs, they’ve never been injured. So he’s more like a 25-year-old. “
Meanwhile, Ralph reported the Giants, although expressing more openness to getting Martin, have even tighter salary cap pressures.
“GWS are on the record through their football boss Jason McCartney saying,‘ if Dustin’s interested, we’re as well, ’” Ralph said.
(But) They already need to cut someone under their cap, Tim Taranto wants to stay after talks this week, but it’s not certain.
“They already have so many elite inside mids – Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper, Taranto, Tom Green, Tanner Bruhn – now you can make up the BigFooty-style trades, but again the salary cap is an even bigger issue there. ”
Melbourne great Garry Lyon believes clubs are ultimately “too conservative” when it comes to such moves.
“In this instance from Dustin Martin’s point of view, it’s probably a whole different ball game given who he is and where he comes from,” he said.
“But I think in general clubs are way too conservative in contemplating such a move.”
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley thinks Damien Hardwick saying Martin had his blessing to leave hints at his confidence the 2017 Brownlow medalist will remain at Punt Road.
“I thought Hardwick’s comments the other week led to the fact that he’s really comfortable that Dusty isn’t even contemplating moving,” Buckley said.
“I don’t reckon they’re placating him, I don’t reckon they know that he loves the place, he doesn’t want to go and I think the coach knows Dusty can do what he wants and I’m happy to say that if I know he’s going to stay. “