OUTGOING Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin was keeping his cards close to his chest around his possible replacement, as the senior Tigers returned to pre-season training on Monday.
Cotchin, 31, stepped down from the role at the end of the 2021 season after nine seasons and three premierships.
"I never saw it as a burden, it was more a responsibility. I'm really, really excited for what it looks like for me personally, but also what it looks like for the footy club," Cotchin said.
"There's clearly going to be someone else who takes over that role, or maybe a few people, I'm not sure what path we'll take, but really excited. They'll put their own spin on things, they'll have amazing support within the playing group and across the whole football club."
Superstar Tiger Dustin Martin is one of a number of players – including Dylan Grimes, Jack Graham and Nick Vlastuin – who could be in the running for the role.
"I think he's one of many. He's got some amazing attributes, and he's also got some weaknesses like all of us as human beings. Time will tell who it is and the direction the club takes," Cotchin said.
Martin is on the comeback trail from a traumatic kidney injury, suffered late in the season which saw him lose 10 kilograms while recovering.
"He's actually now not that much lighter than what he was when he got the injury. He does look good, he looks refreshed, he's running, I'm not sure when he will start his contact training, but I think he was really excited to get back amongst the place we love, which is with the group," Cotchin said.
"I think he put [the weight] back on in the way he wanted to. He's happy, healthy and is looking forward to getting back out there."
Richmond missed finals for the first time since 2016, finishing 12th after a four-year run which resulted in three flags and a preliminary final.
"I can only speak to the conversations I've had in the off-season, but also from a personal point of view, watching finals this year was weird. I'm not a huge watcher of footy, but the finals series definitely was something I tuned into this season," Cotchin said.
"For me personally, the fire in the belly really reignited in that time, and kickstarted the off-season in a really positive way.
"Clearly, we'll get out there today, and from all reports and I trained with them last Monday, our young boys have been at it and really going great guns, so I'm really excited about what the pre-season will bring.
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"What makes good football teams good is they are willing to compete and want to be the best. You look at some of our senior footballers across the board, that's what's made us consistent contributors over a long period of time is their willingness to compete.
"We get really excited by our young guys, but we also have that chip on our shoulder that we want to make sure it's a really hard position for them to earn, which creates a really healthy environment on the training track."
Cotchin presented Richmond's charity partner the Alannah and Madeline Foundation with a cheque for $212,093, raised across the 2021 season.