Hawks coach gives Hardwick the thumbs-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks coach gives Hardwick the thumbs-up

By Roger Vaughan 13/08/2009 06:41:59 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has again strongly endorsed his assistant Damien Hardwick to secure a senior AFL job.

Hardwick, the Essendon and Port Adelaide premiership defender, is among the favourites for the senior coaching role at North Melbourne and Richmond.

Going on the speculation, it is near-certain that Hardwick will be a senior coach next year.

Should he leave Waverley, Hardwick will have Clarkson's strong endorsement.

This is his fifth season as an assistant at Hawthorn and he was a key figure in masterminding last year's premiership.

"I'm not privy to what discussions have been held with the Kangaroos and Richmond, only that he's still involved in those processes," Clarkson said.

"We've supported him all along.

"He has been in our system for five years and our view is he's ready to coach senior football. It's up to Richmond and the Kangaroos to determine if that's the case as well.

"If he goes, we'll prepare some sort of contingency where we replace him and if he happens to stay, then we'll be delighted."

Clarkson has known Hardwick since they were junior footballers together at North Melbourne.

Hardwick played 207 senior games and was Essendon's best and fairest winner in 1997.

He was a fearless, intimidating small defender with strong football "smarts".

"He (Hardwick) has been a great contributor to this footy club and in actual fact, at every club he has been," Clarkson said.

North Melbourne's search for a senior coach took another twist on Wednesday when Sydney announced their succession plan.

John Longmire, a strong Kangaroos candidate, will now take over from Paul Roos in 2011.

The Kangaroos were previously keen to sign Nathan Buckley, but he is now committed to succeed Mick Malthouse at Collingwood.

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