RICHMOND'S last premiership captain Bruce Monteath is looking at a tilt at the Tigers' board and has enlisted the support of a wealthy backer who plans to offer $2 million in exchange for several club directorships.
In a power play that comes as a surprise given Richmond's off-field stability in recent years, Monteath approached club president Gary March eight weeks ago and plans another meeting in coming weeks.
A plan to challenge March this year remains a possibility but is more likely to come in 2013 with Monteath, 57, confirming to The Age last night that he was keen to make an official return to Tigerland.
It is believed a potential Monteath ticket includes a push to bring Neil Balme back to the club in a senior football role. His meeting with March in July saw the Balme issue raised, with the Tiger president insisting to Monteath that Craig Cameron must remain at the helm of the football department.
In the third instance of AFL club board rumblings in a week after Carlton's power play involving Ahmed Fahour and Luke Sayers and more recently Paul Dimattina's renewed Bulldogs challenge, March said last night he was not aware of any significant challenge. His intention was to remain at the helm of the Tigers until the end of next season when he is likely to step down.
March's succession plan has not been laid out but the most likely internal presidential prospects in terms of the current board are former international cricket boss Malcolm Speed or vice-president Maurice O'Shannassy.
Monteath supporters include wealthy IT entrepreneur Phillip Allison, who is believed to have signalled his desire for at least three places on the board in exchange for up to $2 million. Allison is believed to have been galvanising support for a Monteath ticket behind the scenes.
March said last night the club had determined at the start of his presidency that board positions were not for sale. This followed unrest towards the end of Clinton Casey's reign when Motorola's sponsorship of Richmond resulted in a senior executive of that company taking a position on the board.
''What's a challenge?'' March asked last night. ''If you're talking a challenge in terms of are we having anyone step up and nominate, well that hasn't happened yet. They may announce their intention to run closer to election time after we put our notice out at the end of October. Will Bruce run? I'm not sure.
''I would have thought we've got a pretty good board at the moment. We've determined some time ago you cannot be a sponsor of the club and take a place on the board.
''We've spoken to Bruce and he's a great Tiger man and I love his passion. In the meantime those directors who are up this year have indicated they will be standing again, so there are no vacancies.''
March said last month that Richmond anticipated a profit of more than $2 million at the end of this season following impressive match returns and a 2012 membership of more than 53,000.