Brendan Fevola's stunning call after Damien Hardwick news

With Damien Hardwick making the shock move to step down as Tigers coach, Carlton great Brendan Fevola has made an eye-opening suggestion.

Brendan Fevola and Damien Hardwick.
Brendan Fevola says Carlton could be interested in luring Damien Hardwick back into the AFL coaching world, after his shock move to step down as coach of Richmond. Pictures: Getty Images

Carlton great Brendan Fevola has suggested the Blues could be interested in securing the services of Damien Hardwick as coach, as current coach Michael Voss comes under pressure. Hardwick left the AFL world stunned by announcing he was stepping down as coach of Richmond effective immediately, saying his desire to keep going had diminished.

Hardwick's departure has added an interesting wrinkle to an AFL off-season which is shaping up to be one defined by potential coaching moves. Voss has come under pressure in his second season, while Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is also out of contract at the end of this season.

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While the erstwhile Tigers coach might be an unlikely figure to return to the AFL coaching fraternity next season, having admitted he'd made the decision to leave after this season before it even began, Fevola said he believed the Blues would sound him out. Speaking on his breakfast radio show, The Fox’s Fifi, Fev & Nick’, Fevola described the Carlton coaching job as a 'hot chair'.

Blues fans have grown impatient as the club's AFL finals drought extends into a 10th year, with club boss Luke Sayers publicly backing Voss as coach on Monday. The Blues fell out of the top eight after their hot start to the season, with Voss in his second season in charge.

“I think that there is one spot that he may be coaching, and I don’t necessarily want this to happen, but the Carlton Football Club are struggling," Fevola said. “I may have a little knowledge that maybe some high Carlton people have got wind and reached out to Hardwick to see where he’s at. It’s not just me thinking this.”

As for Voss, Fevola said the solution was simple - getting wins on the board would equal job security. The Blues have notoriously cycled through head coaches in recent seasons, with Brendan Bolton and David Teague having come and gone in the past five years.

“He can turn that around by winning games, and then he won’t sacked. That’s what happens, you win games, you keep your job," Fevola said.

“If Carlton can turn it around, I think Vossy will be there for a long time but if they keep going down the road they’re going and losing games, that seat might open up. With Carlton, they can sack a coach pretty quick, and they’ve been known to do that. It’s a hot chair.”

Damien Hardwick reveals reason why he stepped down as Tigers coach

The Tigers broke a 37-year premiership drought under Hardwick when they won in 2017, going on to add two more premierships in 2019 and 2020. The popular coach said it had been a 'tough conversation' to have when telling the club his intention to step down.

“It’s been an incredible ride and one that’s coming to an end. I couldn’t have wished a better place to have my journey as an AFL coach,” Hardwick said.

“It just became a little bit too much for me. It was one of those ones where I sort of made the decision that I wasn’t going to be the coach of Richmond next year.”

Hardwick credited the club for sticking by him after the Tigers missed the finals in 2016 - with their success in the years to follow a massive reward for the faith placed in him. However with the club battling in the middle of the AFL standings over the past two seasons, Hardwick said he had begun to question whether he was still the man for the job.

Damien Hardwick speaks at a Richmond press conference.
Damien Hardwick says he realised his motivation to continue as Richmond head coach had waned mid-season, prompting his surprise move to walk away. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Admitting that consecutive losses had become more difficult to handle after the club's extended run of success since that 2016 season, Hardwick said he had never wanted to stay any longer than what was necessary. Now was the time to leave, Hardwick said, in order to preserve his own love for the sport.

“It just all came a little bit too much for me. I made the decision I wasn’t going to be the coach of Richmond next year," he said. "Once I decided that part of the equation started to slip away then I started to question myself ... as soon as I started to ask the question more, I started to understand what the question was going to be.

“If I couldn’t give 100 per cent, there was no way I was going to coach this football club. Once you’ve had more success, losses become harder, so I had a fair indication at the start of the year that I would like this to be my last year."

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