Damien Hardwick has given up hope of Alex Rance reversing his retirement decision and poured cold water on the prospect of Richmond luring Darcy Moore as a replacement.
Collingwood defender Moore is out of contract at the end of the season and is reportedly in the Tigers' sights.
Initial reports on Tuesday prompted a bristling response from Magpies president Eddie McGuire, who said "the blood will be flowing down Punt Road and Hoddle Street again" if Moore was to defect to Richmond.
Hardwick will team up with Moore as part of the Victoria team to take on the All-Stars in next week's AFL bushfire relief match.
But the dual premiership coach said that was as far as the relationship would go for now.
"It popped up by surprise," Hardwick told SEN on Wednesday.
"I got a text on my family WhatsApp about what's going on with Darcy Moore and I said, 'What are you talking about?'
"This time of year, things get thrown around and clubs get linked and it's a little bit of a slow news week, so nothing in that one at this stage."
Rance announced his shock decision to retire in December after completing his rehabilitation from a knee injury that ruined his 2019 season.
The injury kept him out of the Tigers' premiership side and his pending return had been viewed as a huge bonus in the flag defence.
Richmond football boss Neil Balme said last month he remained hopeful Rance would make a comeback this season.
But Hardwick said he had now completely ruled out in his mind the prospect of the five-time All-Australian defender returning.
"He's got a greater purpose in life at the moment with his family and faith," Hardwick said.
"I don't sit there and say I understand the decision, but I support the man.
"He's been a terrific servant for us, he'll always be a Richmond man and he is always welcome at our footy club.
"But we've got 41 or 42 players that can help us right here, right now, so there's no point looking in the rear vision mirror.
"We've got to continue to look forward and continue to develop our next premiership side which is hopefully not too far away."
Hardick listed Noah Balta and Ryan Garthwaite as defenders capable of stepping up to fill the void.
Australian Associated Press