The Dustin Martin saga has taken another twist with the 22-year-old sticking with his manager Ralph Carr and refusing to engage in contract talks alone with Richmond.
The Tigers are again envisaging a future without the troubled but talented young star, with Martin awaiting the arrival of his father, Shane, in Melbourne on Monday before making his next move.
And Carr has lashed out at his critics, telling The Age: ''I stand by everything I have said and I stand by the way I have represented this kid. My business has been sullied and my reputation has been damaged. I care about Dustin. He's a terrific kid and I've been misrepresented. I'm not an advocate for players changing clubs and I've always hoped that Dustin would stay at Richmond. He wears Royce Hart's number for heaven's sake. I've told Dustin that, just as I told Travis Cloke that last year. Richmond knows our position and there needs to be some dialogue.''
The Tigers continue to maintain that Martin is a required player but stand to lose him to the draft should a deal not be achieved.
Martin is understood to have instructed Richmond this week to deal with Carr after the player failed to attend a meeting with football boss Daniel Richardson and his offsider, Blair Hartley, at Punt Road on Monday.
Carr has indicated his frustration that club CEO Brendon Gale has not responded to his calls in the past and claimed Martin has been disappointed in Richmond's criticism of his management style.
Richmond and Carr have not been in contact this week, leaving the prospect of no deal being reached before Monday's Jack Dyer Medal count, in which Martin will poll well.
The expectation had been that Martin, after meeting coach Damien Hardwick late last week and previously being rejected by Greater Western Sydney, would return to the club and reach an agreement this week. But the Martin camp has continued to baulk at the Tigers' two-year offer of close to $1 million - an offer that could now prove heavily conditional, with performance and behavioural clauses.
Carr had indicated previously he had been obeying instructions in taking Martin to tour the Giants' facilities in Sydney's inner west, claiming the player had shown interest in living closer to his father and away from Melbourne's fishbowl football environment. He has also accused Richmond of suggesting Martin change managers.
No club has as yet made an offer to Martin, although his management has previously maintained he would achieve close to $600,000 annually should he place himself in the draft. ''They know our position,'' said Carr of the Tigers, adding he had no issue with Martin's behaviour on Brownlow night. ''I care about Dustin,'' said Carr. ''I thought it was fair enough after a long season that he had a drink.''