Toast Tigers in talks to renew Hardwick’s contract

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Tiger_Of_Old

🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Nov 23, 2000
44,972
90,855
Country Victoria
AFL Club
Richmond
Snippets from the H/S on Dimmas playing/coaching career.

The Bomber years
Sheedy was fed up.

It was the mid-1990s at Windy Hill and a young, strongly built defender from Upwey – at the foot of the Dandenongs – was testing the Essendon coach’s patience.

It came to a head one day when some Hardwick skylarking in a local park the day before a game resulted in a month’s layoff.

“I’d known Sheeds had been riding him pretty hard around that time because I think he did his hamstring having a kick in a park with some mates the day before a game,” then teammate and Essendon great Matthew Lloyd recalled.

“I’ll never forget Sheeds really challenging him on his professionalism at that point in time around saying ‘you won’t have a career if you keep missing games through stupidity’.

Hardwick in action for Essendon.

Hardwick in action for Essendon.
“Sheeds, I think, questioned his commitment a bit in the early days, but I could see the hard side to him straight away.

“It was more the consistency in his preparation that I don’t think he’d found yet.”

Lloyd said he never imagined at the time Hardwick would go on to forge such a successful coaching career.

“Damien hated meetings and the little things you had to do in footy,” he said.

“He didn’t love training, but when he did train he trained hard.

“He just wanted to play and that’s what he loved to do...the strategy part of him is not something I really saw as a teammate.”

Hardwick’s professionalism got better with time, which saw him become the club champion in 1998 before playing a key role in Essendon’s 2000 premiership side.

He was one of a number of Bombers forced out for salary cap reasons at the end of 2001, landing at Port Adelaide.

Hardwick pictured with [PLAYERCARD]Matthew Primus[/PLAYERCARD] after winning the premiership with Port Adelaide in 2004.

Hardwick pictured with Matthew Primus after winning the premiership with Port Adelaide in 2004.
Lloyd said it was not until grand final day in 2004, when Hardwick became a two-time premiership player, that he truly understood the loss of Hardwick.

“I’ll never forget watching that grand final,” he said.

“That first half when maybe there would be a few Port players doubting whether they could conquer the almighty Brisbane Lions, his attack on the ball and the man and his ferocity… it hit me that day that we didn’t just lose a player, but we lost probably what Essendon had stood for.”

It was the last game Hardwick would play, but Clarkson – an assistant at Port Adelaide who’d just been appointed Hawthorn coach – had him in his sights.

Becoming a coach
The new Hawthorn assistant coach was not happy.

Back in Melbourne in 2005, the reluctant trainer couldn’t believe it when he was still being forced onto the track by the Hawks’ new coach.

“One of the main things that Clarko emphasised for all the coaches was that they had to compete and train like we did,” former premiership Hawk Campbell Brown said.

“I remember Dimma was filthy in the early days.

“He’d be saying ‘I’ve retired so I don’t have to do a pre-season and here I am having to do one as a bloody coach.’

“We’d have a laugh, but it was great from a player’s perspective too because if they’re doing training with you, you very quickly build that rapport.”

[PLAYERCARD]Jarryd Roughead[/PLAYERCARD] and Peter Everitt get directions from Hardwick at Hawthorn training during his time as an assistant coach.

Jarryd Roughead and Peter Everitt get directions from Hardwick at Hawthorn training during his time as an assistant coach.
Hardwick, who worked with the Hawks’ forwards, was quickly loved by the players.

He was big on relationships and was a bit unconventional, which appealed to them.

They could also relate to him well as he was only just out of the playing ranks.

“He hated meetings in his early days,” Brown said.

“He was a great coach in terms of relationships and obviously he had a great footy brain, but those early days the training and the meetings would do Dimma’s head in a little bit.

“The first few years if you’d asked me whether he’d go on to be a senior coach, I probably would have said no.

“But he got the coaching bug, though, the longer he coached.”

The near miss
Did Hawthorn, perhaps inadvertently, cost Hardwick the Essendon coaching job at the end of 2007?

In the 2009 book ‘Glory & Fame: the Rise and Rise of the Essendon Football Club’, then Bombers chief executive Peter Jackson claimed Hawthorn, which was in the middle of a finals campaign, made Hardwick surrender the computer on which he had compiled his presentation and notes.

Down to the final interview with just one other applicant – former Tigers skipper Matthew Knights – Hardwick faltered during the interview owing to a borrowed laptop he was unfamiliar.

This with due to Hawthorn’s fear of the potential leaking of sensitive information.

“I got the impression he was burning the candle at both ends trying to get it going, then on the day, he wasn’t familiar with the computer, and it didn’t start up properly, and Damien can get a bit annoyed with himself,” Jackson said in the book.

“His final performance was probably not as good as his second one, whereas Matthew’s was terrific, and on the day, that’s what the full board saw.”

He missed out, and also the Melbourne job to Dean Bailey around the same time, and was still at Hawthorn when it won the 2008 premiership.

Less than a year later, he would take the helm at Punt Rd.

Becoming a Tiger
When Brendon Gale was appointed Richmond’s new chief executive in 2009, the hunt for a new coach to succeed the sacked Terry Wallace was well underway.

By the time Gale came on board, it was down to four candidate.

He threw himself into the process, and said Hardwick possessed many traits the club was looking for.

“We felt like he had a passion for coaching and teaching and he had gotten great experience at Hawthorn, who had gone from pretty much the bottom to pretty much the premiership in 2008,” Gale said.

“He’d been a part of the transformation of a club, and for that reason we felt like he had the ability to address the needs of our list and our club now at that point in time.

“We also felt like he had a real passion for learning and a curiosity, which meant that as our list and the game evolved he would be able to meet those needs.”

Hardwick arrives at Punt Road with Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale after being announced as the Tigers’ new coach in 2009.

Hardwick arrives at Punt Road with Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale after being announced as the Tigers’ new coach in 2009.
He won the job, narrowly beating out Ken Hinkley, but by 2016 there were plenty that thought Hardwick should be shown the door.

He’d taken his side to the past three elimination finals, but no further, and patience was waning.

“There was a lot of external noise and that’s legitimate noise,” Gale said.

“That’s noise you need to try and manage and it can be quite distracting, but within the club there was a strong sense of what success looked like.

“The mere fact we were making finals showed progress, and we weren’t getting far but we were playing finals after coming from a long way back.

“So we thought as a board that Damien had all the attributes to be a really good coach.

“That guarantees nothing but we felt strong about that and we felt he and the program was doing a whole lot right.”




  • ...
The Tigers have won the AFL grand final for the third time in four years.

Just over a year later the Tigers would win their first flag since 1980 and this year will shoot for a three-peat.

When Hardwick and Gale started together in the same month in 2009, the Tigers were a basket case.

Almost 12 years later they’re the benchmark of the competition, on and off the field.

“I feel proud but it’s funny, the pressure never abates as once you’re reigning premier you’ve got to defend,” Gale said.

“But I’m proud of the collective buy in as it’s a program and the coach is a very important part of it, but I’m really proud of the way we’ve all committed to it.

“And I’m really happy for Damien as it’s a tough role coaching Richmond, it’s historically tough, and also I’m happy for our fans.”
 

box070

Team Captain
Jan 8, 2021
567
1,660
AFL Club
Richmond
Snippets from the H/S on Dimmas playing/coaching career.

The Bomber years
Sheedy was fed up.

It was the mid-1990s at Windy Hill and a young, strongly built defender from Upwey – at the foot of the Dandenongs – was testing the Essendon coach’s patience.

It came to a head one day when some Hardwick skylarking in a local park the day before a game resulted in a month’s layoff.

“I’d known Sheeds had been riding him pretty hard around that time because I think he did his hamstring having a kick in a park with some mates the day before a game,” then teammate and Essendon great Matthew Lloyd recalled.

“I’ll never forget Sheeds really challenging him on his professionalism at that point in time around saying ‘you won’t have a career if you keep missing games through stupidity’.

Hardwick in action for Essendon.

Hardwick in action for Essendon.
“Sheeds, I think, questioned his commitment a bit in the early days, but I could see the hard side to him straight away.

“It was more the consistency in his preparation that I don’t think he’d found yet.”

Lloyd said he never imagined at the time Hardwick would go on to forge such a successful coaching career.

“Damien hated meetings and the little things you had to do in footy,” he said.

“He didn’t love training, but when he did train he trained hard.

“He just wanted to play and that’s what he loved to do...the strategy part of him is not something I really saw as a teammate.”

Hardwick’s professionalism got better with time, which saw him become the club champion in 1998 before playing a key role in Essendon’s 2000 premiership side.

He was one of a number of Bombers forced out for salary cap reasons at the end of 2001, landing at Port Adelaide.

Hardwick pictured with Matthew Primus after winning the premiership with Port Adelaide in 2004.

Hardwick pictured with Matthew Primus after winning the premiership with Port Adelaide in 2004.
Lloyd said it was not until grand final day in 2004, when Hardwick became a two-time premiership player, that he truly understood the loss of Hardwick.

“I’ll never forget watching that grand final,” he said.

“That first half when maybe there would be a few Port players doubting whether they could conquer the almighty Brisbane Lions, his attack on the ball and the man and his ferocity… it hit me that day that we didn’t just lose a player, but we lost probably what Essendon had stood for.”

It was the last game Hardwick would play, but Clarkson – an assistant at Port Adelaide who’d just been appointed Hawthorn coach – had him in his sights.

Becoming a coach
The new Hawthorn assistant coach was not happy.

Back in Melbourne in 2005, the reluctant trainer couldn’t believe it when he was still being forced onto the track by the Hawks’ new coach.

“One of the main things that Clarko emphasised for all the coaches was that they had to compete and train like we did,” former premiership Hawk Campbell Brown said.

“I remember Dimma was filthy in the early days.

“He’d be saying ‘I’ve retired so I don’t have to do a pre-season and here I am having to do one as a bloody coach.’

“We’d have a laugh, but it was great from a player’s perspective too because if they’re doing training with you, you very quickly build that rapport.”

Jarryd Roughead and Peter Everitt get directions from Hardwick at Hawthorn training during his time as an assistant coach.

Jarryd Roughead and Peter Everitt get directions from Hardwick at Hawthorn training during his time as an assistant coach.
Hardwick, who worked with the Hawks’ forwards, was quickly loved by the players.

He was big on relationships and was a bit unconventional, which appealed to them.

They could also relate to him well as he was only just out of the playing ranks.

“He hated meetings in his early days,” Brown said.

“He was a great coach in terms of relationships and obviously he had a great footy brain, but those early days the training and the meetings would do Dimma’s head in a little bit.

“The first few years if you’d asked me whether he’d go on to be a senior coach, I probably would have said no.

“But he got the coaching bug, though, the longer he coached.”

The near miss
Did Hawthorn, perhaps inadvertently, cost Hardwick the Essendon coaching job at the end of 2007?

In the 2009 book ‘Glory & Fame: the Rise and Rise of the Essendon Football Club’, then Bombers chief executive Peter Jackson claimed Hawthorn, which was in the middle of a finals campaign, made Hardwick surrender the computer on which he had compiled his presentation and notes.

Down to the final interview with just one other applicant – former Tigers skipper Matthew Knights – Hardwick faltered during the interview owing to a borrowed laptop he was unfamiliar.

This with due to Hawthorn’s fear of the potential leaking of sensitive information.

“I got the impression he was burning the candle at both ends trying to get it going, then on the day, he wasn’t familiar with the computer, and it didn’t start up properly, and Damien can get a bit annoyed with himself,” Jackson said in the book.

“His final performance was probably not as good as his second one, whereas Matthew’s was terrific, and on the day, that’s what the full board saw.”

He missed out, and also the Melbourne job to Dean Bailey around the same time, and was still at Hawthorn when it won the 2008 premiership.

Less than a year later, he would take the helm at Punt Rd.

Becoming a Tiger
When Brendon Gale was appointed Richmond’s new chief executive in 2009, the hunt for a new coach to succeed the sacked Terry Wallace was well underway.

By the time Gale came on board, it was down to four candidate.

He threw himself into the process, and said Hardwick possessed many traits the club was looking for.

“We felt like he had a passion for coaching and teaching and he had gotten great experience at Hawthorn, who had gone from pretty much the bottom to pretty much the premiership in 2008,” Gale said.

“He’d been a part of the transformation of a club, and for that reason we felt like he had the ability to address the needs of our list and our club now at that point in time.

“We also felt like he had a real passion for learning and a curiosity, which meant that as our list and the game evolved he would be able to meet those needs.”

Hardwick arrives at Punt Road with Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale after being announced as the Tigers’ new coach in 2009.

Hardwick arrives at Punt Road with Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale after being announced as the Tigers’ new coach in 2009.
He won the job, narrowly beating out Ken Hinkley, but by 2016 there were plenty that thought Hardwick should be shown the door.

He’d taken his side to the past three elimination finals, but no further, and patience was waning.

“There was a lot of external noise and that’s legitimate noise,” Gale said.

“That’s noise you need to try and manage and it can be quite distracting, but within the club there was a strong sense of what success looked like.

“The mere fact we were making finals showed progress, and we weren’t getting far but we were playing finals after coming from a long way back.

“So we thought as a board that Damien had all the attributes to be a really good coach.

“That guarantees nothing but we felt strong about that and we felt he and the program was doing a whole lot right.”




  • ...
The Tigers have won the AFL grand final for the third time in four years.

Just over a year later the Tigers would win their first flag since 1980 and this year will shoot for a three-peat.

When Hardwick and Gale started together in the same month in 2009, the Tigers were a basket case.

Almost 12 years later they’re the benchmark of the competition, on and off the field.

“I feel proud but it’s funny, the pressure never abates as once you’re reigning premier you’ve got to defend,” Gale said.

“But I’m proud of the collective buy in as it’s a program and the coach is a very important part of it, but I’m really proud of the way we’ve all committed to it.

“And I’m really happy for Damien as it’s a tough role coaching Richmond, it’s historically tough, and also I’m happy for our fans.”
Sliding doors moments everywhere
 

box070

Team Captain
Jan 8, 2021
567
1,660
AFL Club
Richmond
Maybe Dimma knew he was on a road to nowhere at essendon with James on the horizon hence the laptop failure. :D ;)
Hinkley would have been interesting. He can coach but not sure how he would have went with our group. No doubt Dimmas relationship with the players brings the best out of them. Hard to say if Hinkley would have the same effect
 

Tiger_Of_Old

🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Nov 23, 2000
44,972
90,855
Country Victoria
AFL Club
Richmond
Hinkley would have been interesting. He can coach but not sure how he would have went with our group. No doubt Dimmas relationship with the players brings the best out of them. Hard to say if Hinkley would have the same effect
I think Hinkley is similar to Dimma.Its taken awhile but this current port side is Hinkleys pretty much like dimmas with us from 11 onwards.
The exception being I think they lack an onfield leader like Cotch and a bloke named Dusty.
 

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