RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has no problem with Essendon publically signaling its interest in Dustin Martin, saying clubs would be crazy not to explore poaching the midfielder as he approaches free agency.
Bombers' CEO Xavier Campbell this week spoke publicly about the club's interest in pursuing Martin, who is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Campbell said talks about luring Martin to Tullamarine were at a preliminary stage internally, with the Bombers joining North Melbourne in being linked to the Tigers' club champion.
Asked if he found the Bombers' declaration of interest unsavoury ahead of Saturday night's Dreamtime clash between the clubs, Hardwick said the interest generated in free agents was what the AFL wanted.
"He's a good player. He's always going to get linked [to other clubs] … we're reasonably placed with where it's at," the coach said.
"He's been a good player for a long period of time and any club that's not speaking to him is crazy as far as I'm concerned.
"From my point of view it's what the AFL wants. They want it front and centre, they want their brand on the back page of papers.
"Dustin's an outstanding player so he's going to create this sort of attention. It's just part and parcel of the industry we're in."
Hardwick said talks between Martin's management and Richmond's list management team, led by Dan Richardson, were ongoing and the club was comfortable with its position.
The Tigers will make at least one change for Saturday night's clash, with recruit Josh Caddy set to return after one match on the sidelines with groin soreness.
Small forward Dan Butler will miss one more week with a groin complaint, however, meaning first-year Tiger Shai Bolton will hold his spot after an eventful debut in round nine.
The Tigers have remained upbeat this week after back-to-back heartbreaking defeats, with Hardwick focusing on the positives on Thursday.
He said the team reviewed the final stages of last Saturday's three-point loss to Greater Western Sydney and identified a number of errors.
"It was just a breakdown. We looked at a couple of things. The manning of the mark wasn't tight enough … (Nathan) Wilson kicked in and got five or six extra metres, which then gets the ball further in the centre," the coach said.
"Unfortunately in these circumstances you can look at one individual, but collectively as a side we shouldn't have been in that position to start with.
"We go through that, the guys are big boys and they understand it.
"We're playing some good footy, we're just not quite getting the result. Unfortunately you don't get rewarded for great effort."
Hardwick said the Tigers would continue to back their style of play, despite four consecutive losses, acknowledging that they would find themselves in more close finishes this season.
He said tight losses against top-eight sides GWS, the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle had reinforced confidence rather than sapped it.
"The way we're playing provides a template to win games. We're never going to win games by 10 goals, but we're going to be competitive in all games we play," Hardwick said.
"That's the template we like, we've spoken about it and our players agree with the way we're going that it's a winning formula.
"We've just got to make sure that we get those wins."