Damien Hardwick in stunning backflip as he confesses he’s desperate to coach again just weeks after leaving Richmond – revealing how he’s struggled like a bombshell since his firing
- Hardwick left the Tigers in May
- Enjoy the quiet life and vacation
- I miss the grind of coaching
Before long, former premiership winner from Richmond, Damien Hardwick, has been given the itch to coach at the highest level again.
But where the champion mentor ends up remains a mystery.
The three-time premiership-winning coach shocked the AFL world last month when he stepped down after almost 14 years in the top job.
Hardwick made 207 appearances for Essendon from 1998 to 2004, winning a premiership in 2000. After his playing days, he moved into coaching and became Richmond’s head coach.
The Tigers changed fortunes under his leadership, winning three AFL premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020, cementing his legacy as one of the most accomplished coaches in recent AFL history.
Since his retirement, Hardwick has remained tight-lipped about his future, sharing images of himself relaxing at home and vacationing in Denver, USA.
Hardwick and Trent Cotchin celebrate winning the 2019 AFL premiership amid Richmond’s stunning success
An emotional Hardwick called a media conference last month to announce his immediate retirement from the Tigers (pictured)
Hardwick and partner Alexandra Crow enjoy a relaxing day out walking their dog Hank in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Elwood
But now, speaking to former GWS and Carlton player Dylan Buckley on the Dyl and Friends podcast, Hardwick has revealed that he misses the daily routine of an AFL head coach.
“All footy does is real [get you in a] routine…, and all of a sudden you take that away and it’s amazing how fast [you miss it],’ he said.
“You enjoy the first few days, but then it’s like, ‘Oh, what am I going to do now?’
‘I had a few days [when’ I sort of decompressed and relaxed and then I said, ‘OK, I’m not very good at this’ …. Footy was such a big part of my life and it sort of defined me.
Hardwick admitted that relaxing was not really his style and that his main struggle in retirement was adapting to the lack of routine and pressure.
‘It’s been a little bit challenging learning how to relax and I think it’s something I’ve become better at, but also I need to find out what my next purpose is about moving forward and getting my teeth to stuck into something, otherwise I will drive myself insane.’
Buckley then inquired about Hardwick’s coaching future and whether he had plans to make a comeback.
‘I will get f**king murdered by the whole community if I don’t ask you this. Coaching? Football? Where does it sit with you at the moment? Where’s your head at? … Can you see yourself coaching it at another club?’ he asked.
Hardwick replied: ‘I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t see myself doing it. I love it. I miss it. I’ve been out for two weeks and I wanted to miss it.
‘I need a bit of time but I just love the game … Like everyone, I’ve known it for a long time.
‘At some stage I will probably step back in, when that is, I’m not too sure.’
Hardwick has been linked to a host of AFL clubs from the moment he resigned, including Gold Coast and Port Adelaide, although with both clubs in good form and the Power sitting second on the ladder, their interest remains unclear.