Former GWS coach Leon Cameron has revealed stunning details of conversations between him and Dustin Martin as the Richmond star pondered his future.
Martin famously toured GWS’s still-under-construction facilities in 2013 while under contract with Richmond, who were unwilling to increase their offer to the then 22-year-old.
Flanked by manager Ralph Carr, Martin was landed in Sydney and met key Giants officials. Richmond had released a statement confirming that their young star would “pursue other opportunities”, and he seemed poised to make his way to a new club.
The next day, however, the Giants withdrew their interest.
Then football manager Graeme Allen said: “We have accepted the invitation to meet Martin and his manager Ralph Carr and have shown them around our new training facility and the SKODA stadium, but we have decided not to pursue any further discussions.”
However, in an extraordinary interview on SEN’s Crunch TimeAt the very least, Cameron seems to cast doubt on that will.
“If you remember, I think it was 2013, he was thinking about going elsewhere. I know his manager was trying to promote Dusty Martin a little bit more than the average player, and let’s face it, he is a bit more than the average player,” he began.
“So he came to us (to meet us), his late father was from West Sydney, they obviously had a great relationship. He came up and sat down and I and he were just having a cup of coffee in a cafe.
“In the end… I kind of said to Dusty, ‘Do you really want to come to our football club, because that’s what we’re going to watch and what are the reasons why’?
“He said (he liked the idea) to leave Melbourne, Sydney might be a little more anonymous, Dad’s here, all that sort of thing.
“I said, ‘how do you deal with your coach…’ and he said, ‘Dimma (Damien Hardwick) is a star, I love Dimma, I think he is a fantastic coach’.
“(I said), ‘how do you deal with your players’, (he replied): ‘I love the players, I know we haven’t had the greatest success yet, but I love the players’.
“I said, ‘Well mate, do you really want to move, as much as we’d like, do you really want to move from your current football club’?
“He kind of looked at me and thought, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a good point’. The conversation got a little out of hand and we came up with some other things and that was about it.
“Whether I talked him out of it or talked into it I don’t know to this day, but the next day or two I think he’s made the decision that he wants to stay with the Tigers.”
Martin would go on to become the most successful player of modern times, winning three premierships, three Norm Smith medals and a Brownlow medal.
Ironically, his second Norm Smith came in the 2019 Grand Final against the Giants — the team Cameron may have persuaded him to compete — as Richmond won their second premiership in three years by 89 points.
Martin’s future is again under discussion in 2022, despite signing a seven-year contract in 2017.
He has been linked with a move from Melbourne, and Cameron believes “there must be something,” in reference to the reports.
“There’s no doubt that he’s not playing the football he probably was a few years ago, and does he need some change? It’s going to be really fascinating what’s going to happen in the next two months,” Cameron added.