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Tigers mull Ivan Maric's AFL future

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016 By Rob Forsaith

Richmond cult hero Ivan Maric could be forced to look for a new AFL club, with the Tigers still unsure whether the ruckman is part of their plans for 2017.

Maric, who comes off contract at the end of the year, missed the opening four rounds of the season because of a back injury.

The 30-year-old was dropped after playing rounds five and six, with Shaun Hampson overtaking him as the Tigers' No.1 ruckman.

Form and fitness issues mean Maric has played just one game since, against Port Adelaide in round 15.

"That's a list management decision we'll work our way through," Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said on Thursday, when asked about Maric.

"We'll make those decisions at the end of the year.

"Ivan is an important player for us and he probably hasn't had the year that he or us would like.

"He's had some injury concerns across the year and just hasn't really got up and going at any stage.

"But we know what Ivan can do and Ivan at his best is a very, very good AFL player ... we hope to get him back this year."

Big men Ben Griffiths and Ty Vickery, who is a restricted free agent, are also yet to sign contract extensions.

"List management is tough any time of the year," Hardwick said.

"It's not something foreign to us, we constantly have these conversations."

Hampson's career-best season was rewarded with a two-year contract extension earlier this week.

Hardwick expected the 28-year-old would get even better in 2017.

"He's had a really good season .. he thoroughly deserves his contract," Hardwick said.

"But we look forward to him improving."

The Tigers face Geelong at the MCG on Sunday, with Hardwick calling on his charges to show the same effort they did in a pressure-relieving win over Collingwood last Friday night.

Hardwick forecast the prospect of Brownlow medal favourites Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin going head to head in the midfield.

"At the start then we might look at something if Danger gets out of control," Hardwick said, when asked if he will send a tagger to Dangerfield.

"But that's probably happened every game with Danger, hasn't it?

"He's such a quality competitor, he's one of those guys who is very hard to tag."

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