Richmond Tigers decide Dustin Martin’s 300th game; Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions and Greater Western Sydney Giants sign stars to long-term contracts

Dusty’s 300th celebrations are pending

Andrew Wu

Dustin Martin has been ruled out of Richmond’s game against Adelaide due to illness, paving the way for the superstar to play his 300th game the following week against the Tiger Army at the MCG.

Tigers coach Adem Yze said Martin would “most likely” have been rested this week because of Richmond’s five-day break between games, but his absence from the club’s main training session for Tuesday week made the decision in the hands of the match committee. .

It opens the door for Martin to play his milestone game on Saturday week against Hawthorn at the MCG, when he will become just the seventh Tiger to play 300 games for the club.

“It’s kind of silly today. We only have one training session. It was always going to be about how he did today. There are two or three players in that category who are over 30 that we have to monitor today, but today he is actually sick,” Yze said.

Dustin Martin has played 299 senior games for Richmond but will not reach 300 in round 13. Getty Images

“That got out of hand this weekend. The bottom line is he’ll be able to play his 300th game in front of our home crowd against the Hawks next week.”

Yze said it was unlikely Martin would have played even if he hadn’t been sick.

“There is an element of risk if they find themselves playing anyway. We want to take fit players. “Whether he got up and trained today or not, that would have been a big question mark,” Yze said.

One of the greatest players of the modern era, Martin’s absence is a blow to the club’s hopes of winning with their backs against the wall on the road. Although a few years removed from his prime, Martin turned back the clock in the Dreamtime game two weeks ago and was also influential in the Tigers’ gutsy loss to Geelong on Saturday.

“It’s not what he does with the ball,” Yze said.

“He is engaged with our younger forwards. His organization and intelligence on the field is like having another coach on the field. We will miss this. He is a big out. He’s been in good form over the last few weeks, we’ll miss him for sure.”

The underdog Tigers suffered more casualties against the Cats, losing promising youngster Mykelti Lefau to a season-ending knee injury and Marlion Pickett (calf), but there is good news in regarding injuries.

Star forward Shai Bolton will return from concussion, Dion Prestia is available after a week off, while reigning club champion Tim Taranto is expected to play as long as he recovers well from training.

Back on deck: From concussion for Thursday night’s clash. Getty Images

Forward Tom Lynch and senior midfielder Jacob Hopper are closing in on returns, possibly against Hawthorn, although a decision will be made late next week, Yze said.

“They’re progressing nicely,” the coach said.

Yze said Pickett had been counseled by the club after making an obscene gesture to the Geelong crowd as he walked off the field with a calf injury. He said Pickett was responding to mob abuse over his alleged involvement in the theft of $380,000 in Australian and foreign currency from safes.

“The last few weeks, he’s gotten away from the crowd a little bit based on what’s been going on off the field with him,” Yze said.

“It’s not the way we want them to respond, but we understand the reasons.

“I talked to him and he knows it’s not the right thing to do.”

Pried Swan signs a five-year contract

Jon Pierik

Sydney forward Will Hayward has become the latest young star to sign a long-term deal amid a frenzied bidding war for talent across the league.

Sydney Swans star Will Hayward has signed a five-year contract extension. AFL photos

A day after Brisbane midfielder Hugh McCluggage and Greater Western Sydney ace Sam Taylor confirmed their multi-million dollar contracts, the Swans have revealed they have retained another prized asset.

Hayward, a key piece of their premiership bid in life after Lance Franklin, has signed a five-year extension, avoiding free agency and offers from Carlton and clubs in his native South Australia. It will remain a Swan until at least the end of 2029.

“Since I was drafted the Swans have been great to me and my family and I’m so happy to be here at the club for the long term,” Hayward said.

“I feel extremely fortunate that the club has put their faith in me and our team feels we are on the right track, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and trying to achieve more success here in Sydney.

“We feel we are in a very good position to launch for the second half of the season and I am excited about what we could produce over the next few years.”

Hayward had a strong 2024, kicking 22 goals in 11 games, including four-goal sacks against Greater Western Sydney and Fremantle.

The Swans started this season with a lot of work to do to retain their elite young talent, but they can now add Hayward to a list that includes James Rowbottom, Errol Gulden and Ollie Florent. But the man arguably higher up that list, Chad Warner, has suspended contract talks despite indicating he wants to stay at the club.

Sam Taylor has penned a monster contract extension that will keep him at GWS. Getty Images

Hayward’s signing comes as an increase in the AFL’s salary cap – set to reach $17.7 million in 2025 – and the specter of the Tasmania Devils joining the league in 2028, has clubs splashing the cash to poach – and retain – players talented

Taylor, an All-Australian and the club’s best and fairest in 2022, is one of the league’s premier backs, so the Giants swooped in to extend his contract beyond the one year remaining on his contract, aware that it would be a restricted free agent after the 2025 campaign. .

Giants head of football Jason McCartney said the changing landscape of the game meant the club needed to act quickly.

“Obviously, Sam was going to be out of contract next year as a restricted free agent,” McCartney said on SEN.

“We know the landscape around it and how it works … but it’s a no-brainer.

“It’s a reality now with free agency because if you have a good free agent, and obviously Sam is one of the higher quality ones that would be available next year, if you’re not ready to go there, someone else certainly will and probably (give them) more.”

Industry sources who declined to comment publicly because they were not authorized to speak about a rival club estimate Taylor, 25, will make nearly $1 million a season.

Taylor told Fox Footy there was strong rival interest in him – Fremantle and West Coast tried to lure the West Australian native home – but he insisted he had no inclination to leave.

Hugh McCluggage is off the market by signing a contract that ties him to the Lions until 2031. Getty Images

“The Giants are a great club, I’m surrounded by good people and this is where I want to be,” he said.

“The club came to my manager at the start of the season and started talking about it. I was quite happy to call early, I didn’t want to stress too much.

“I didn’t want to entertain that (rival interest) either.”

Taylor ranks 3rd for intercept marks in the AFL this season, behind only Brisbane’s Harris Andrews and the Western Bulldogs’ Liam Jones.

Total player payments per club rose from $15,022,778 last year to $15,788,222 this year, before rising to $17.76 million in 2025, $18.29 million in 2026 and $18.44 million in 2027. There were 19 salary players last year according to seven figures. AFL.

Hayward, Taylor and McCluggage, 26, join the likes of Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow, Darcy Moore and Zach Merrett who have signed long-term deals in recent years.

McCluggage had also been targeted by rival clubs but the Lions vice-captain remained loyal.

A former South Warrnambool and Greater Western Victoria Rebels junior who was picked at No.3, McCluggage said he wanted to repay the faith the club had shown in him and help secure a premiership. He signed until the end of 2031.

Sydney coach John Longmire believes there is a Victorian bias as he urges the league to consider a best-of-three finals series.

“I still feel like we have unfinished business,” the 166-game veteran said on Tuesday.

“I like how far we’ve come since Fages (coach Chris Fagan) got here and the attitude we have to constantly improve as players and people.

“We’ve had so many great experiences to learn from and use to get where we want to go.

“The challenge now is to remain a good club and football team for a long time into the future, as the best clubs in the competition are capable of.”

McCluggage is averaging 25.4 disposals, 5.3 marks, 4.6 clearances and 4.7 inside 50s in 2024.

“I’ve had so many great role models in teammates, coaches and mentors along the way, and I hope I can be that person for the next group of players coming up,” McCluggage said.

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