Tigers confident stars will stay

27 February 2021 20:30:16 GMTPlus10

Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick is confident of keeping a host of star players, despite there being the lure of bigger pay packets at rival AFL clubs.

Premiership stars Jack Riewoldt, David Astbury, Nick Vlastuin, Shane Edwards, Bachar Houli and Kamdyn McIntosh will all qualify for free agency in 2021 and the Tigers could face a fight to keep hold.

Richmond have not been helped by the salary cap being slashed by more than $1million, while rivals clubs could offer the players much more in the way of wages.

But Hardwick says as far as these players are concerned there is more to life than money and they love being part of the Tigers family.

With that in mind, he is convinced all six will pen new deals and remain on board beyond 2021.

"That's the challenge isn't it. They're incredible players for us and (Richmond list manager) Blair (Hartley) and his list management team do a very, very good job at making sure our players do stay together," Hardwick told AFL.com.au.

"They play for less. There's no doubt about it. They could go to other clubs and get a hell of a lot more money. But they love the environment they've created. It's important to a period of sustained success because if you lose players like David Astbury, Nick Vlastuin and Jack Riewoldt, your club is lesser because of it.

"Not only from an on-field perspective, but also an off-field perspective. They're wonderful leaders on and off the field."

The Tigers are priced at 5/1 to win the grand final.

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