Rumours swirl after Daniel Rioli reportedly meets with Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick

Richmond is confident that Daniel Rioli is committed to the club’s long-term future despite a rumour circulating about his links to the Gold Coast.

The Suns have denied that Rioli toured their club as whispers gathered steam. However, The Herald Sun has now confirmed Rioli met with his former coach Damien Hardwick for a drink during the Tigers’ bye week.

The Suns are in need of an elite running back, and Rioli would be a desirable option, but Richmond has no intention of entertaining offers for him.

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Rioli is contracted until 2027 and is considered integral to Richmond’s plans for resurgence after a disappointing 2023 campaign.

In 2022, he spoke on being a “Tiger for life”, a sentiment strengthened by the arrival of his uncle Maurice Rioli Jnr to the club.

Analysts say Maurice is poised to secure another contract at Punt Road, adding weight to the argument Daniel is staying put.

“It’s awesome, I am basically a Tiger for life now and I would not want to be anywhere else,” Rioli said at the time.

“Walking into the club every day and seeing your teammates and all the brother boys I have formed strong ties with, it is pretty special.”

The rumours come as the club faces some roster pressure, with over 20 players out of contract. Former skipper Trent Cotchin weighed in on the possible departures of superstar Dustin Martin and Liam Baker, admitting their absence would leave a massive hole in the side.

“I believe that one of them, if not both, will not be in Richmond colours next year. With Baker, the numbers that I’m hearing being thrown around from the west are pretty significant,” Cotchin said.

Three-time Norm Smith medallist Martin becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season able to walk to any club of his choice and has also been linked to a reunion with Hardwick at the Suns.

Commentator Kane Cornes called for Martin to walk away from the game at the end of the 2024 season and go out on top without any questions over his place in the AFL.

“I just think it’s time in terms of there’s nothing left for him to achieve,” Cornes said on SEN Sportsday.

“Does Dustin Martin want to go through that and then have questions over his form like he will get, like Buddy Franklin had when he played probably one more year (than he maybe should have)? Just like Scott Pendlebury is facing now to a lesser extent.”

Cornes was challenged on his stance on Footy Classified, but rather than softening his position, he doubled down.

“Is he prepared to dig in for another pre-season at the age of 33,” Cornes said.

“In a rebuilding group who is probably going to lose every third week, that’s the question you’ve got to ask.”