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Giants Hopper picks Richmond, Martin going nowhere

Giants Hopper picks Richmond, Martin going nowhere

Richmond’s starting midfield next year could consist of Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto and Dustin Martin, after Hopper declared he wanted to follow Taranto to Punt Road and Martin indicated to Tigers officials that he would remain.

Tigers sources have confirmed to The Age that Hopper, who is contracted at the Giants for one more season, has picked Richmond over Geelong.

While Richmond sources wouldn’t be drawn into contract details, industry sources have told The Age that, like Taranto, Hopper has been offered a seven-year deal.

The Cats had also tabled a lucrative, long-term contract for the 25-year-old, and industry sources believed as recently as this week that Hopper was leaning towards a career at the Cattery.

But sources close to the player say that the lure of playing regularly in front of huge crowds, as well as being able to link up again with fellow Giant Taranto – who is set to sign for seven years at Richmond – was enough for him to select Punt Road as his next home.

Giants Hopper picks Richmond, Martin going nowhere

The news comes as Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admitted on Fox Footy on Monday that the club met with Hopper.

“We did meet with Jacob Hopper today … it’s not something I feel overly comfortable about,” he said.

“But the fact of the matter is he’s a quality player and wants to come …. We’re hoping to facilitate that for him.”

To recruit both Hopper and Taranto would be a massive coup for the Tigers as, essentially, it would allow them to regenerate on the run.

With Shane Edwards retiring and Trent Cotchin all but certain to retire at the end of 2023 after recommitting for one more season, the GWS pairing are ready-made replacements in the prime of their careers.

But the Tigers will need to trade for them. Hopper has one year left remaining on his GWS contract and while Taranto is uncontracted, he’s not yet a free agent.

Martin, who has been struggling with injury and form for months, indicated to his management this week that he would persevere at Punt Road, where he has two years remaining on a contract worth $1.3 million per season.

Martin had told close confidants that he was considering a move away from the Melbourne bubble, following the death of his father.

It remains unclear what Hopper’s decision will mean for Geelong. The Cats had pulled out of the race for Collingwood star Jordan De Goey, with sources telling The Age they wanted to concentrate on recruiting Hopper.

Like Richmond, the Cats are looking to find replacements for battered and bruised midfield stars Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield.

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