'Should be private': Tigers coach Damien Hardwick opens up on split with wife

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·Sports Reporter
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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick (pictured left) arriving with Danielle Hardwick (pictured right) to the 2017 Brownlow Medal in 2017.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick (pictured left) opened up about the split with his wife Danielle Hardwick (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has finally opened up about the split from his wife Danielle after revelations he was in a relationship with a staff member.

The three-time premiership winning coach has endured a tough summer after his relationship with a staff member prompted headlines following his marriage breakdown.

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But after a tough pre-season camp, Hardwick spoke to Gary Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN Breakfast and addressed the media attention for the first time.

“The reality is these things happen in all walks of life and I’m very much of the opinion that people’s private lives should be just that, private,” he said on SEN.

“I know sections of the media won’t treat it that way, but that’s how I’m treating it first and foremost.

“Myself and Danielle‘s priority will and always has been our three beautiful kids … to finish the topic off really, it’s been a difficult time for everyone and out of respect for Danielle and my kids, it’s something I’m not very comfortable speaking about.”

Hardwick addresses affect on club

Last month Richmond vice-captain Jack Riewoldt said he was confident the situation will not have any impact on the playing group.

Before players returned for pre-season training, Hardwick addressed with them his recent marriage and new relationship.

Hardwick opted to return at the same time as the senior players after initially flagging late last year that he would enjoy an extended off-season break.

But speaking SEN, Hardwick said he followed the club's mantra of open and honest conversations when addressing the group about the saga.

The coach added the team were fully prepared for Round 1 of the AFL season.

“The reality was the first day back I had to speak to the players about it. That’s something we do at the club and it’s important we did so that we could get on with the business of preparing for Round 1,” he said.

“We just finished a terrific pre-season camp, 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 competition.

Richmond senior coach, Damien Hardwick looks on during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on January 11, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.
Richmond senior coach, Damien Hardwick looks on during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on January 11, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

“Sides will always continually deal with those distractions, but it’s the side that deals with them the best that comes out on top. We’re now fully focused on preparing for Round 1.

“My players are understanding of my situation and where we’re at, but what I’ve also got to understand is there’s a lot of staff and players that are incredibly close to Danielle and my family.

“The fact of the matter is my entire family has been a massive part and will continue to be a massive part of the Richmond Football Club and I’m glad they (players and staff) are supporting her (Danielle).

“This isn’t about taking sides, it’s just about making sure what’s best for everyone.

“It was important that the first time they saw me, I spoke about it openly and honestly. That was the reality of the situation and until I did that we couldn’t really move forward.”

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