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Dustin Martin spotted meeting Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast

The intrigue surrounding Dustin Martin’s AFL future is set to kick into overdrive after the Richmond star was spotted meeting with Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast.

Martin is contracted to the Tigers until the end of the 2024 season but there appears to be no end to speculation about a reunion with his former coach at the Suns.

7NEWS Melbourne’s Mitch Cleary broke the news of their Queensland catch-up on Thursday night.

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“How about this photo – snapped just this afternoon,” he said.

“An interesting subplot (to the finals) as Dusty weighs up what comes next for him.

“It is seen by the Suns that he will stay at Richmond but one to watch as the silly season begins to heat up on the back of the finals series.”

Dustin Martin meets with Damien Hardwick. Credit: 7NEWS

Hardwick has previously acknowledged Martin’s existing contract with Richmond, having been asked about the three-time Norm Smith medallist at his unveiling as Gold Coast coach.

Former Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin this week said he believed Martin’s visit to Queensland was nothing more than a holiday.

“It’d be great to see him as a 300-plus game player for the Tigers in the yellow and black,” Cotchin told Channel 7’s Talking Finals.

“Is it some pre-retirement fun to go up there (and play for Gold Coast) and enjoy the sunshine at the very end of his career?

“I’m not sure (but) I know that one of his values is loyalty.”

Hardwick is reportedly attempting to lure his Tigers premiership player Shaun Grigg, now a Geelong assistant, to the Suns.

Alex Rance has also re-emerged as a potential recruit in some form.

The star defender, who turns 34 next month, retired at the end of 2019 after rupturing his ACL in the opening game.

Damien Hardwick, Alex Rance, and Dustin Martin during a team photo in 2019. Credit: Getty Images

Cotchin did not rule out the possibility of a shock return and said “maybe there’s a twinkling heartbeat there”.

“But the game is very hard and he is a little bit older than when he did leave it,” he said on Talking Finals.

“In saying that, I have seen recent pictures of his rig and he is in good nick. It is just whether or not he has the appetite to do it.”

Speaking on SEN, Melbourne great Garry Lyon said the rumours of a shock Rance return were “catching fire”.

Lyon said he had been told that Rance recently competed in a “strongman CrossFit event” and finished in the top 10, then read a text message sent to him.

“I confirm that’s the word around the Gold Coast members,” it read.

“He’s up here now. He’s been around the club.”

Lyon’s colleague and Channel 7 commentator Tim Watson jokingly asked if Rance had bought property in Queensland to spark the rumour.

Lyon said: “I don’t know whether people are putting one and one together and coming up with 50.”

The two premiership captains have drawn back the curtain on a pair of humanising moments.

Dustin Martin spotted meeting Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast

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