Trent bucks leading trend

THE inevitable decision to appoint Trent Cotchin as Richmond's next captain has been hit with a numerical twist - the 22-year-old Tigers' star wants to retain his old number.

Rather than follow the relatively recent tradition of taking the No. 17 made famous by club legend Jack Dyer, Cotchin has told the club he wishes to keep the No. 9 that he has worn for the length of his football career on the back of his guernsey.

The Cotchin bid is understood to have been raised at Tuesday night's board meeting following the club's announcement on Monday of a record $3 million profit. His captaincy is expected to be announced in the coming days.

While the Cotchin captaincy has long been considered a formality, Gary March and his directors would have to ratify the break from the No. 17 tradition that was put in place by the Clinton Casey board shortly after Dyer's death in 2003.

Wayne Campbell adopted the No. 17 in the last year of his captaincy and two subsequent Richmond skippers in Kane Johnson and Chris Newman, who quit the captaincy at the end of the season, followed the tradition. Campbell also wore No. 9 for seven years of his eight-year captaincy.

Whatever the board's decision on the captaincy number, Newman is expected to revert to his old No. 1 next season.

March was tight-lipped on the issue on Tuesday, but confirmed that

the new Richmond captain would probably be announced before the team leaves for its North Queensland training camp next week. The Tigers depart next Monday for a 10-day camp in Cairns.

Cotchin is at present with the bulk of his senior teammates from the 2012 leadership group at a two-day leadership camp on the Mornington Peninsula. Also there is a a group of coaches all under the guidance of Campbell, who now holds a senior position in Richmond's football department.

Cotchin, who is also in contract negotiations with Richmond with his current deal ending at the end of 2013, finished runner-up in the Brownlow this year and won his second successive club championship - also named after Dyer, who won six best-and-fairests and captain-coached Richmond to the 1943 flag.

Dyer's statue holds pride of place outside the Punt Road Oval and there is also a room named in his honour at the club.

Tiger greats Barry Richardson and Maurice Rioli are among those to have worn 17.

According to Richardson, a three-time premiership player with the Tigers who also coached and was president of the club, it was the lure of Dyer's number that led to him choosing Richmond over Melbourne in 1964.

''Jack came down to visit us on the farm in Barnawartha and was very charming,'' Richardson recalled. ''He complimented my mother on her scones and as he left he told me if I joined the Tigers I could have his number.

''Melbourne had offered me an MCC membership, which was a big thing, but it was Jack's number that got me over the line to Richmond.''

Richardson said he had some sympathy with Cotchin's call. ''I tend to think that numbers are made by players themselves,'' he said, ''and if a player wants to create his own history then they should have that choice.

''Mind you, if the No. 17 tradition was named after me I might be a bit dirty on him.''

This story Trent bucks leading trend first appeared on The Age.