MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Dustin Martin (left) and Trent Cotchin of the Tigers celebrate during the 2017 AFL round 02 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Richmond veteran Trent Cotchin has spoken on the club's captaincy planning for next season following his decision to relinquish his duties as skipper at the end of this season.

Cotchin's tenure as captain at Punt Road saw the now-triple premiership Tiger hold the longest-serving leadership role in the club's history, first being appointed at the end of 2012.

The Tigers will now look to who could succeed the 31-year-old, with the likes of Dustin Martin, Dylan Grimes, Nick Vlastuin, Jack Graham and Jayden Short all believed to be in the running.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Tigers captain Trent Cotchin and Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick hold aloft the Premiership Trophy after victory in the 2019 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Speaking to media on Monday morning, Cotchin expressed his enthusiasm in what's to come at Richmond this pre-season, with the club weighing up variable options for their next leadership group structure.

"I'm really, really excited for what it looks like for me personally, but also what it looks like for the footy club," Cotchin said, per AFL.com

"There's clearly going to be someone else who takes over that role, or maybe a few people, I'm not sure what path we'll take, but I'm really excited.

"They'll put their own spin on things, they'll have amazing support within the playing group and across the whole football club."

Martin has gained strong backing both internally and externally from key figures in the AFL landscape, having conjured a stunning pedigree of leading the Tigers across their recent successes.

AFL Rd 1 - Richmond v Carlton
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tackled by Sam Walsh of the Blues during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Despite being among the oldest players at the club, Martin firms as a suitable option for the Tigers to consider.

"I think he's one of many. He's got some amazing attributes, and he's also got some weaknesses like all of us as human beings," Cotchin added.

"Time will tell who it is and the direction the club takes."

Grimes joins Martin in having surpassed the age of 30, while Vlastuin will be 29 next April, likely seeing either of the trio hold shorter spells as skipper. Both Graham and Short are likely to be in consideration, with the former having the support of fans to take over the reins from Cotchin.

Graham is currently at the same stage of his career when Cotchin was handed the captaincy from Chris Newman, having just ended his fifth year in the system.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Jack Graham of the Tigers grabs the ball during the Second AFL Preliminary Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The hard-nosed midfielder is seen as a younger option for the Tigers, and could perhaps continue to wait for the role should one of the aforementioned veterans be chosen to lead Richmond in 2022, before taking on the duties further down the road.

Whoever is appointed captain ahead of the new season will hold the task of leading the Tigers back to premiership contention, having missed finals for the first time since 2016 this year.

The lacklustre campaign and absence from the September action has lit "the fire in the belly" of Cotchin ahead of a critical season for Richmond, who will be eyeing a return to the top eight.

"I can only speak to the conversations I've had in the off-season, but also from a personal point of view, watching finals this year was weird. I'm not a huge watcher of footy, but the finals series definitely was something I tuned into this season," Cotchin said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07: Dustin Martin of the Tigers looks dejected after a loss during the 2021 AFL Round 08 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 07, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"For me personally, the fire in the belly really reignited in that time, and kickstarted the off-season in a really positive way."

The Tigers will continue their traditional Round 1 showing against Carlton next year, with the two Victorian rivals set to clash at the MCG on Thursday, March 17.