IT’S official - Castlemaine’s Dustin Martin is staying at Punt Road.
The Richmond superstar and former Bendigo Pioneer announced on Thursday night he had agreed to a seven-year deal, tying him to the AFL club until the end of the 2024 season.
Martin had been mulling a contract offer from North Melbourne - reportedly also a seven-year deal - that was worth significantly more money.
But Martin – the Bendigo Football-Netball League Rising Star in 2008 – couldn't see himself in anything other than a yellow-and-black guernsey on an AFL field.
"I've decided to stay at Tigerland for another seven years, which I'm incredibly grateful for," Martin said on the Nine Network's The Footy Show.
"It's a massive relief. I'm sick of people talking about it. I don't like being the centre of attention so people can go and find something else to talk about now."
On Thursday afternoon, Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale, head of football Neil Balme and football manager Dan Richardson met Martin and his manager Ralph Carr.
The Kangaroos were reportedly told Martin would not take up their offer soon after that meeting broke up.
Martin revealed he had met Roos coach Brad Scott and members of the club's leadership group as part of their audacious bid to lure the midfielder.
Months of speculation intensified over the past week after the Tigers sealed third spot, setting up a qualifying final against Geelong.
Martin and Carr returned to Melbourne on Tuesday night after a trip to New Zealand.
The Richmond star went over to speak to his father, who was deported last year, about his AFL future.
The club and coach Damien Hardwick have steadfastly played a straight bat to questions about their star midfielder's future this season.
"The decision, whatever it may be, will come out. But does it affect our preparation? Not really. We still go about our business," Hardwick said on Wednesday.
Martin did not speak to the media at Wednesday evening's All-Australian dinner, where he made the team for the second-straight season.