Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick has addressed a recent meeting with Richmond defender Daniel Rioli, who recently spent time in Queensland during the Tigers' bye week.

Richmond players were afforded a three-day break following their Round 5 defeat to West Coast, with the club having a ten-day turnaround until their next match against Melbourne on Anzac Day eve.

Rioli, who is contracted at Punt Road until the end of 2027, used the break to fly north and spend time on the Gold Coast, where he met his ex-coach whilst celebrating his birthday.

Rumours would ignite over the pair's leisurely reunion, with Hardwick denying Rioli had visited the Suns' Carrara facilities during his time in the Sunshine State.

Speaking to media on Friday, Hardwick said his catchup with Rioli was "innocent", believing the defender will remain in the yellow and black for the remainder of his career.

"(It was) a personal visit. I have a great long-standing relationship with him," Hardwick said, via News Corp. 

"He's contracted to Richmond for life, I reckon, so it was pretty innocent from our point of view.

Embed from Getty Images

"I've known Dan for 10 years. He lived with me for two or three, so it would be weird if I didn't catch up with him when he was up here on holidays.

"So, yeah, we caught up and had a beer together. It was his birthday. It was good to see the great man but I feel a bit sorry for him, at the moment."

Hardwick's Suns have often been linked to Richmond players since the coach's venture north, with Tigers champion Dustin Martin often tied to a move north.

The Suns have surrounded Hardwick with some familiar faces, including premiership teammates Alex Rance and Shaun Grigg, who have taken on consultancy and assistant coaching roles respectively.

Gold Coast would need to trade for Rioli if strong interest in the gun Tiger was to evolve, with the Suns to enter this year's exchange period with multiple first-round draft selections for the 2024 count alone.