Brett Deledio has detailed how his Richmond exit took place and revealed the clubs he spoke to prior to joining GWS.
The former No.1 draft pick held talks with Geelong and the Western Bulldogs but opted for the Giants who had just played off in a preliminary final.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick encouraged Deledio to experience what he experienced twice as a player – winning a premiership.
Hardwick, who just completed his seventh season at Punt Road, was under increasing pressure to retain his job following a disappointing 2016 campaign that yielded just eight wins.
“At the end of the year, I went back and forth I don’t know how many times as to what was I doing to do … am I going to stay, am I going to go?” Deledio told This Is Your Sporting Life thanks to Tobin Brothers Funerals.
“I explored a couple of different options. Initially I tried to get to Geelong; caught up with Chris Scott and Steve Hocking at the time; had a really good meeting with them.
“Their offer came back … we can’t really do this without taking significant pay cut … so we looked at other options.
“I spoke to the Bulldogs … and caught up with Dimma (Hardwick) to tell him that this is what was I was doing, that I was keen to see what else there was out there and he was pretty open and honest with me as well – he was pretty nervous for his own job because of how badly we’ve gone.
“He said, ‘Mate, I want you to win a flag … I want you to experience what I’ve experienced, and I told him, ‘Mate, look to be honest, I’m crapping myself about going up there and moving my whole family up to Sydney – it just scares me’.
“I ended up saying, ‘Right, I’m going to stay’ … and I injured my calf on a run and I went into the club and I was like, ‘I think I’m going to go and explore this (leaving)’ … these thoughts came into my head about being involved at a club where I wasn’t sure where we were going to go.
“So for my own peace of mind and happiness, let’s go and try a new club.”
Former GWS footy boss and Tigers champion Wayne Campbell played a major role in getting Deledio to the club.
“Wayne Campbell had been in my ear for a couple of months since the finish of the season and organised for me to go up there," Deledio said.
“I met Dave (Matthews) and Leon (Cameron), we all went out on a boat on the harbour … ultimately they sold it to me and I knew deep down that they were the best team to go to, but I was just worried about uprooting my young family at the time and getting up to Sydney.”
Deledio was unable to win that elusive flag with GWS and could only watch on as a resurgent Richmond won two premierships in 2017 and 2019.
The two-time All-Australian called time on his 275-game career in 2019.