Richmond is set to have a new captain next season after three-time premiership skipper Trent Cotchin announced his intention to step down from the role in 2022.
Cotchin is Richmond’s longest-serving captain, having held the role since the 2013 season, and has played in 188 of his 268 careers games as the captain.
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The club enjoyed tremendous success under the star midfielder’s leadership, breaking a 12-year finals drought in his debut season as skipper, before ending a painful 37-year premiership drought in 2017, the first of his three flags as captain.
Now 31, Cotchin believes “it feels the right time to step down” and will continue in a key on-field role next season.
“The club has built a really strong leadership culture over the past five years and we have some excellent leaders at Richmond that will flourish in the captaincy role,” Cotchin said in a Richmond statement.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to continue our philosophy of pushing leadership deep through the organisation, and for me to continue to play a role both on-field and off-field.”
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Three-time Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick said Cotchin “will remain an incredibly important leader” for the Tigers next season.
“He prides himself on the development of our emerging leaders and he will undoubtedly remain committed to that and moving us back up the ladder next season,” Hardwick said.
Cotchin’s long-time teammate Jack Riewoldt said his tenure as leader can be “credited with the shift of the whole club”.
“Arguably maybe the greatest captain of Richmond all-time, probably just behind ‘Captain Blood’, Jack Dyer,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL360.
“The door opens for someone else to come in and fill some really big shoes. The timing is great because a few of the older crew are going to be around for one, two, three more years that can help the next person through, so it’s not going to be thrown to the wolves.
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“We’ve got a litany of blokes that could come in and pick up that role and I’m just excited to see who the boys think the next captain should be.
“It’s a sad moment but also a big moment in terms of the next step forward for our club.
“Whilst he’ll lose the captain logo next to his name, he’ll still lead from the front and it may free him up to become a bit of a different leader in different areas of the football club, which we’re excited about.”
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