Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admits he has given up on the prospect of Alex Rance playing in 2020.
Rance stunningly retired in December to explore his faith and be closer to his family, but rumours persisted that he would return to the game.
“Yeah I have (given up hope that Rance will come back this year), he’s got a greater purpose in life right now with his family and faith,” Hardwick told SEN Breakfast..
“I don’t sit there and say I understand the decision, but I support the man. He’s been a terrific servant for us, he’ll always be a Richmond man and he is always welcome at our footy club.
“We’ve got 41 of 42 players who can help us right here, right now so there’s no point looking in the rear vision mirror, we’ve got to continue to look forward and continue to develop our next premiership side which is hopefully not too far away.”
Channel Seven’s Tom Browne linked out of contract Collingwood defender Darcy Moore to Richmond on Tuesday morning, a player who could fill the Rance void.
However, Hardwick said that there is nothing to the link.
“It popped up by surprise, I got a text on my family WhatsApp about what’s going on with Darcy Moore and I said, ‘what are you talking about?’” he said.
“This time of year, things get thrown around and clubs get linked and it’s a bit of a slow news week, so nothing in that one at this stage.
“There’s a lot of nice replacements (for Rance) out there, it would also be nice to have Alex back to be perfectly honest.
“We’ve got some terrific young talent that is coming through. We’re really excited by Noah Balta who has got a little way to go, Ryan Garthwaite as well. We’ve got some replacements that will come through and help us long-term.”