Richmond star Jack Riewoldt says Damien Hardwick has addressed the players about his marriage breakdown but is adamant the coach’s personal life won’t affect the team’s premiership ambitions.
It was revealed over the festive period Hardwick had split from his long-time wife Danielle and is now in a relationship with Alexandra Crow, a member of the Tigers’ commercial sales team.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Riewoldt was confident Richmond’s push for a fourth title in five years wouldn’t be hurt by the upheaval in Hardwick’s personal life.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any impact, really. Damien is a good enough character to separate his personal life and his professional life,” Riewoldt said.
“He’s shown over the last four years he’s been arguably the best coach in the land and he’ll continue to support us and we’ll continue to support him over the next period of time.
“It’s hard to say early on … (but) he seemed really strong, so we’re excited to get out and train.”
Often referred to by the Tigers coach as “Mrs Hardwick” in press conferences, Danielle had been by her husband’s side through an incredibly successful career in football that included flags as a player with Essendon and Port Adelaide and three more as coach of Richmond.
The couple have three children together and while Riewoldt admitted he was surprised by their split, added “these things happen in people’s lives and we just move on”.
“It’s obviously sad ‘Dimma’ and Danielle’s marriage has come to an end, because Dimma’s obviously been a big part of our football club,” Riewoldt said.
“But the whole Hardwick family’s been a massive support network for us and they’ll continue to be a support network, as we will for them as well.
“You never like to see something like a marriage breakdown and an end but it happens in life and we move on and we continue to support the individuals.”
Damien Hardwick has split from wife Danielle.Source:Getty Images
Danielle was incredibly well-liked at Richmond and was referred to as the “second family” of Tigers captain Trent Cotchin and his wife Brooke in an Instagram post at Christmas.
She replied to the picture by writing: “What a special Christmas Morning. Our hearts are full. Love you Cotchins.”
Danielle also posted a cryptic Instagram post after news of Hardwick’s new relationship went public, writing: “F**k every single person that took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.”
Hardwick reportedly had to have his new relationship approved by Richmond’s human resources department for him to continue as coach of the club.
After leading the Tigers to a grand final win against Geelong last year, the 48-year-old had flagged the personal toll the season had taken on him.
“I’m going to take a bit of a longer break this year over summer,” Hardwick told 3AW.
“It’s been a pretty full on 3-4 years and we’ve done a hell of a lot of work and had a lot of success along the way but sometimes you need to step back.”
Riewoldt is backing his coach to lead Richmond to more success.Source:News Corp Australia
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