Ben Rutten could be about to land on his feet with an AFL powerhouse as he takes steps towards moving on with his coaching career, five days after being sacked by Essendon.

7NEWS Melbourne’s Nat Yoannidis has revealed the 39-year-old held a meeting with Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and other key football staff at Punt Road on Friday.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Rutten meets with Richmond

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It is understood the meeting was an informal chat – but it comes with the Tigers on the hunt for a new senior assistant to replace the GWS-bound Adam Kingsley.

Rutten previously served under Hardwick across the 2015-18 seasons, leading the Tigers’ defence at the start of their triple premiership dynasty.

He was lured to the Bombers by former Richmond colleague turned Essendon football boss Dan Richardson, with Tigers supremo Neil Balme praising Rutten’s impact at the time of the switch.

Ben Rutten could be in line to return to Richmond. Credit: Getty

“Ben has made a wonderful contribution to our coaching group in his four seasons at our club,” Balme said in 2018.

“It’s unfortunate that he will leave Richmond at the end of our season, he has built great relationships with both coaches and players, and played an important role in our premiership success last year.”

Rutten spent the following two years at Essendon as an assistant to John Worsfold before taking over as senior coach in 2021.

He was sacked by the Bombers this week, taking home a $600,000 payout not to see out his 2023 contract, in the wake of a board coup and new president David Barham’s failed chase for Alastair Clarkson.

The Tigers would prove to be a soft landing spot for Rutten, who earned significant sympathy among the AFL world for how he was treated by Essendon.

He received a hearty embrace from Richmond stars, including Jack Riewoldt, after his final game in charge of the Bombers last Saturday night.

Ben Rutten shares an embrace with Jack Riewoldt last Saturday night. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“I probably think I deserve better,” Rutten told reporters in his post-match press conference.

“As a club, we need to come together as a whole football club and we need to stick to a plan, put our heads down, bum up and do the work.

“There’s no other way. There’s no other way for this football club to get back to where it wants to be.”

Rutten’s meeting with Richmond came on the day Essendon announced their six-person committee to lead an external review and help source a new senior coach.

Premiership winners Robert Walls and Jordan Lewis are joined on the panel by football boss Josh Mahoney, Melbourne Vixens netball coach Simone McKinnis, former NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn and Bombers board of director Dorothy Hisgrove.

The club’s coaching legend Kevin Sheedy is a notable absentee.

Robert Walls will help pick the next Essendon coach. Credit: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

The external club review and the coaching sub-committee will make recommendations to the board, who will then make the final decisions.

“The coaching process will be thorough and rigorous. This is a well credentialed group of individuals who all bring diverse and unique skill sets,” Barham said in a statement.

“I have been clear that we cannot continue to only review ourselves and this external review is critical for the club’s success moving forward.

“This review will be comprehensive, robust and integrated. We will leave “no stone unturned” in this process.

“We are committed to making the necessary changes to deliver our club its next AFL premiership.”

Essendon have already stated they want an experienced coach, with Ross Lyon, Don Pyke, Justin Leppitsch, Leon Cameron, and Mark Williams among the names floated.

– with AAP

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