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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has been spotted with new girlfriend Alexandra Crow for the first time since his split with wife Danielle.
The three-time premiership coach left his wife last year and is now in a relationship with Crow - a member of the club's commercial sales team.
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On Sunday, Hardwick and Crow were spotted out in public together for the first time as they walked their dog in Melbourne.
Hardwick and Crow appeared happy and relaxed as they went for a stroll with their dog, Hank, in Elwood.
Damien Hardwick and his new partner have been keeping a low profile since the Richmond coach separated from his wife, but the pair has been spotted in public.https://t.co/4PsAh580cv
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) February 28, 2021
Earlier this month, Hardwick revealed he addressed the Tigers' playing group about his marriage breakdown immediately on his return to the club after an extended off-season break.
Estranged wife Danielle is close to a number of partners of Tigers players, so speculation swirled about how Hardwick's personal situation could impact the club's tilt at a third-straight premiership.
"It's important that the first time they (the players) saw me that I spoke about it openly and honestly," Hardwick told SEN.
"Until I did that, we couldn't really move forward.
"That was something we do at the club; it's important we did so we could get on with the business of preparing for round one.
"We always speak about things that are distractions in our lives and distractions that may bring about the demise of great teams.
"That's the reality of the competition, sides will continually deal with those distractions. My players are understanding of the situation and where we're at."
Hardwick often referred to Danielle in his press conferences, calling her "Mrs Hardwick".
Brooke Cotchin, wife of Richmond captain Trent, is extremely close to Danielle.
"What I've also got understand is that there's a lot of staff and players that are incredibly close to Danielle and my family," Hardwick said.
"My entire family's been a massive part and will continue to be a massive part of the Richmond football club - and I'm glad they're supporting her.
"It's not about taking sides, it's about making sure what's best for everyone."
Cotchin dismisses notion of rift with Hardwick
Meanwhile, Cotchin insists his relationship with Hardwick remains tight despite the tumultuous off-season.
Cotchin said he and Brooke would look out for all members of the Hardwick family and believed the Tigers were focused on their tilt at a third-straight premiership.
"What 'Dimma' (Hardwick) and I have worked through for a number of years now is really unique and special," Cotchin told reporters.
"Like anything we will support he, Danielle and the kids.
"No one likes seeing a family breakdown in any sort of way so it's been a challenging time for all but it's a private matter.
"I think Dimma even spoke (on radio) that he highly encourages everyone to support Danielle. That's just the reality of the situation."
Cotchin claims the Tigers are used to the added scrutiny and will not let that be a distraction ahead of their round one clash with Carlton.
"I think that's just been the journey that Richmond's been on for a couple of years now," the 30-year-old said.
"It seems as though anything and everything that happens either within these four walls or outside of it is a story."
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