Hugo Ralphsmith, Tim Taranto and Dustin Martin celebrate a goal during Richmond's clash against Hawthorn in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

AMID ongoing speculation around Dustin Martin's playing future, Richmond teammate Tim Taranto is hopeful the superstar will return to Punt Road after the mid-season bye.

Some onlookers took Martin's emotional send-off after his 300th AFL game – a loss to Hawthorn last week – as a possible farewell to the Tiger Army.

The triple Norm Smith medallist went some way towards quashing those thoughts in a rare interview with the television broadcaster after the match.

Yet questions remain about whether it will prove to be Martin's final appearance in a Richmond jumper.

"I'm pretty confident it's not," Taranto said on Thursday.

"I mean, you never really know, but Dusty will do what Dusty will do.


"I think he'll keep playing for the rest of the year."

Taranto expected to be playing in big finals matches alongside Martin when he and Jacob Hopper left Greater Western Sydney for Richmond at the end of 2022, but it hasn't panned out that way.

Three-time premiership coach Damien Hardwick stepped down midway through 2023 and the Tigers have won just two games in new boss Adem Yze's first year at the helm.

They sit second last on the ladder before resuming after the bye against high-flying Carlton at the MCG on June 30.

But Taranto is convinced there is a bright future for Richmond under Yze.

"I think we're set up really well," the 26-year-old said.

Dejected Tigers players after the round nine match between Richmond and Western Bulldogs at the MCG, May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's hard to kind of feel that way when you've only won two games and you're losing most weeks.

"It's tough, I'm not going to lie. It's hard not winning and going through this phase.

"But we've got to find new ways to bring the energy and it's all about the young guys at the moment and trying to get them up to speed with the gameplan, and just trying to find ways to get better as a group."

Taranto believes Yze is doing a "magnificent" job with an evolving playing list as Richmond targets development and more wins in the second half of the season.

"He's one of the most positive guys you'll ever meet, he's getting the guys up and about, and it's about trying to play four quarters," Taranto said.

Adem Yze addresses during the round seven match between Richmond and Melbourne at the MCG, April 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"We're not playing four quarters right now with a young group, so it's a job for me as a senior player to help those young players develop as quickly as possible.

"We want to be up the ladder and trying to get into the top eight as soon as possible."

Taranto has impressed in two games back in action after eight weeks out with a wrist injury.

"I certainly didn't waste those eight weeks just running on the sideline," he said.


"I was trying to coach and do as much as I could but it's better to be back playing now and I can do that on the field.

"Hopefully we can win a few more games after the bye this week."

Richmond is in danger of being handed its first wooden spoon since 2007, sitting one win clear of last-placed North Melbourne.