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Aussie Rules: Hardwick open to Martin exit

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has given his blessing to Dustin Martin leaving the club if he decides to finish his AFL career away from Melbourne.

The Tigers are priced at 4/9 to finish in the top eight of the AFL this season and Martin as always, will be crucial to their chances of playing finals.

Exit rumours

Martin is grieving following the recent loss of his father and has just returned from a six-week break on compassionate grounds. He has since returned to the Tigers side but rumours have started linking him with a move away.

It has been suggested that Martin may prefer to play his footy and live his life in Sydney, which is not as AFL obsessed as Melbourne. If that is the case then Hardwick says he will back whatever decision he makes.

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Martin is one of the games all-time greats, helping Richmond win the premiership on three occasions and Hardwick says the player has earned the right to choose what he does next.

Hardwick’s blessing

"He's a very important player to our footy club, on the field and off the field," Hardwick told reporters. "What he gives us, he's paid us in spades.

"Whatever Dustin's decision is moving forward is up to Dustin and to be honest he has my blessing. What he's given me, us, our fans, he has been incredible and whatever we get from here on in is a bonus.

"I'm just lucky I get to see him on a weekly basis perform and train the way he does. He was a bit sore last week, he'd never put up his hand and say he was a little bit underdone.

"He's a required Richmond player and a very important Richmond player."

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