Suns ‘crazy’ not to ponder Dusty recruitment: Hardwick

Murray Wenzel |

The Suns say they’d be mad not to try and lure Richmond’s Dustin Martin up to the Gold Coast.
The Suns say they’d be mad not to try and lure Richmond’s Dustin Martin up to the Gold Coast.

Damien Hardwick has kept the door open for an AFL reunion with Dustin Martin on the Gold Coast.

Three-time Norm Smith medallist Martin was the first player drafted at Richmond during Hardwick’s 14-year coaching stay that netted three late premierships.

Martin is in the final year of his contract, the suggestion of a move north lingering ever since Hardwick took over from the axed Stuart Dew this season.

And the Suns coach did little to dampen the prospects of the Tigers star and 2017 Brownlow Medallist’s arrival next season when asked on Wednesday.

“Dustin’s a contracted player at Richmond. That’s obviously for Dustin to decide and Richmond to work their way through,” he said.

“He’s a really, really good player, there’s no doubt about that, and every single club would be crazy if they didn’t sit there and at some stage make an assessment.

“Like 17 other clubs, we’re always looking for good players.

“Gold Coast is no different. Those list management calls will get made at the back-end of the year.”

Damien Hardwick and Dustin Martin.
Damien Hardwick (L) and Dustin Martin (R) share a laugh at the 2017 AFL Grand Final parade. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

The Suns are 8-7 and within one win of fifth place after a stirring defeat of defending champions Collingwood last weekend.

They’re chasing their first away-game win of the season against North Melbourne this Saturday at Marvel Stadium.

They’ll be without co-captain Jarrod Witts though, the ruckman bravely playing out the final minutes against the Magpies with what was later revealed to be a fractured vertebrae.

“It’s incredibly brave. He went off and had some help from the doctors to get back on the field,” Hardwick said.

“It’s just incredible courage from the great man, that’s why he’s our captain.”

Emerging ruck Ned Moyle will deputise for Witts, who is expected to be out in the “short term”.