Trans­fer talk ‘part of game’

The Weekend Post - - Sport - CHRIS CA­VANAGH AFL

RICHMOND coach Damien Hard­wick says he would pre­fer his play­ers didn’t meet with op­po­si­tion clubs in sea­son but has con­ceded that is “part of the land­scape” in the free agency world.

It was re­ported on Thurs­day that Tigers mid­fielder Dustin Martin had met with mem­bers of North Mel­bourne’s lead­er­ship group “about six weeks ago” as the Tigers star con­tem­plates a big-money move to the Kan­ga­roos.

Out of con­tract at sea­son’s end, Martin has been of­fered $1.5 mil­lion a year over seven years at North Mel­bourne, while Richmond’s of­fer stands at $1.1 mil­lion a sea­son.

When asked yes­ter­day if he was aware that Martin had met with North Mel­bourne, Hard­wick said the re­ports did not come as a sur­prise.

“I think we’re all big boys these days. I think we’ve got a fair un­der­stand­ing this thing hap­pens all the time,” he said.

Hard­wick de­nied the on­go­ing spec­u­la­tion about Martin’s fu­ture had been a dis­trac­tion to the 26-year-old or his team­mates as they pre­pared for a fi­nals cam­paign.

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