For those of you not currently in Melbourne, the entire city is currently entering its annual month of absolute batshit insanity known as AFL Finals. Each September the city loses its mind in the best way possible over the conclusion of the AFL season, and footy dominates proceedings even more than it does ordinarily. It’s the best.
This year, the primary topic of discussion leading into the finals has surrounded the Richmond Football Club, and their sudden and quite unexpected goodness. The Tiges hoisted themselves to third on the AFL ladder, booking themselves a qualifying final clash against 2nd place Geelong at the MCG; a game which managed to sell around 95,000 tickets in just 24 hours earlier this week.
But beyond just the team, the rumour mill has been churning into overdrive over their gun midfielder Dustin Martin.
Martin’s contract is up at the end of the season, and speculation has been boiling over as to what he will do next year. The North Melbourne Football Club put a well-documented and astronomically large offer on the table in front of Martin, should he choose to exercise his rights as a free agent once the trade period commences in October.
This afternoon, that speculation has reached fever-pitch, with strong reports suggesting that Dusty has – or is at least on the very precipice of – spurning the offer from North in favour of re-signing with Richmond, in a move that will provide the club with enormous momentum heading into September.
Though nothing at this stage is confirmed, both Jake Niall at Fox Sports and Brian Waldron at SEN are reporting that Martin has agreed to terms with Tigers on a mammoth 7-year deal worth somewhere in the vicinity of $9.1 million.
— CODE AFL (@codeaflau) August 31, 2017
— brian waldron (@brianwaldron4) August 31, 2017
There is strong suggestion that Martin will be appearing in a pre-taped interview on The Footy Show tonight to confirm his new deal, though at this stage Channel Nine’s official word is that they can neither confirm, nor deny Martin’s presence on the show.
Martin is the white-hot, almost unbackable favourite for this year’s Brownlow Medal and by far-and-away Richmond’s most important player, and infamously had one foot out the door of the club just a couple of years ago. Convincing him to stay at Punt Rd would represent an almighty show of faith in coach Damian Hardwick and that Martin believes the current list is building towards something quite special indeed.
No word, of course, if any prospective deal also includes protection for his “creative” haircut.