Hardwick named AFL coach at Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hardwick named AFL coach at Tigers

By Roger Vaughan 25/08/2009 07:24:45 PM Comments (0)

Damien Hardwick is the new coach at Richmond, winning the job at the AFL club ahead of Ken Hinkley.

The Tigers will formally announce Hardwick's appointment on a three-year deal at a Wednesday morning media conference.

Richmond officials were unavailable for comment on Tuesday night.

It is understood that the Tigers told Hardwick and Hinkley of their decision on Tuesday afternoon.

Hardwick is a two-time premiership player who has been a highly-rated assistant coach at Hawthorn since 2005.

This is his first senior coaching appointment and he won the job a week after his 37th birthday.

Hardwick and Hinkley, an assistant coach at Geelong, made their final presentations to the Tigers over the weekend.

Richmond narrowed their selection down to the pair late last week, telling their caretaker coach Jade Rawlings and Essendon assistant Alan Richardson that they were out of the running.

Rawlings took over as coach in round 12 after the departure of Terry Wallace, who was in the last year of a five-year contract and had failed to lead the Tigers into the finals.

Hardwick faces a massive task to turn around the once-great club's on-field fortunes.

They have not won a premiership since 1980 and last made the grand final in 1982.

Richmond have since made the finals only twice, in 1995 and 2001.

One of Hardwick's first big tasks will be to decide on the playing future of Tigers great Matthew Richardson, who is the league's oldest player at 34.

He wants to keep playing, but his season was ruined by injuries.

Impressive recruit Ben Cousins, Nathan Brown and Troy Simmonds are also aged over 30.

Hardwick played 207 AFL matches for Essendon and Port Adelaide between 1994 and 2004.

He was at Essendon for 153 games until 2001, winning their 1998 best and fairest award and playing in their powerful 2000 premiership team.

Hardwick made his name as a fearless, ruthless defender and won All-Australian selection in 2000.

But, at the end of 2001, he had a painful departure from the Bombers and was traded to Port Adelaide.

Hardwick played 54 games for the Power and was a member of their first AFL premiership team in 2004.

He then retired and immediately started working under Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson, who had been an assistant at Port.

Hardwick played a key role in masterminding Hawthorn's surprise premiership last year, when they upset Geelong in the grand final.

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