Trent Cotchin clarifies relationship with Damien Hardwick after girlfriend comments

The former Richmond captain lifted the lid on the fallout to his former coach's marriage breakdown.

Trent Cotchin, pictured here with Damien Hardwick and Alexandra Crow.
Trent Cotchin alongside Damien Hardwick and Alexandra Crow. Image: Getty

Trent Cotchin has moved to quash speculation he's not on good terms with former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick after extraordinary comments about his marriage breakdown and new girlfriend. Hardwick is now in a relationship with former Richmond staffer Alexandra Crow after splitting with wife Danielle in 2020.

In his new autobiography ‘From The Heart’, Cotchin revealed how things changed between himself and his coach after the situation came about late in the 2020 season. “We had built this culture on a platform of family, connection and love – and ‘Dimma’ and Danielle’s relationship had played a big part in all this – so it was only natural to be worried about the potential fallout,” Cotchin wrote.

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“I still loved Dimma and still respected him as a coach… but I am not sure my relationship with him ever got back to the level it had been before. For whatever reason, there always seemed to be a bit of a barrier between us. Maybe it wasn’t just the captain and the coach; maybe it was emblematic of the group’s connection that season.”

Damien Hardwick and ex-wife Danielle, pictured here at the Brownlow in 2017.
Damien Hardwick and ex-wife Danielle in 2017. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Cotchin admitted Hardwick's marriage breakdown new relationship derailed their season in 2021 somewhat. But speaking on SEN radio on Wednesday, the premiership hero insisted there's no bad blood between himself and Hardwick.

“I have a great relationship with Dimma,” he said. “Out of respect to him and his family, I know that it’s mentioned in the book, but I’ll leave that to the readers.

“The hardest thing for me when you do put that kind of stuff out there, the headline and so forth that gets attached, as we all know in some forms of media can paint a different picture as to how the story goes. There’s no doubt it created some form of distraction. From my personal point of view, I loved both Dimma and Danielle and both Brooke and I looked up to them as a great example of how bringing your kids up looks like and the way that you celebrate family and incorporate them into an organisation and so forth.

“So it was probably a challenge in that sense because it was kind of, from what we saw, the picture was perfect. When that changes it was a distraction, (but) it’s not like there was any judgment from our point of view. It was more just the fact that it wasn’t the same as what it used to be.”

Trent Cotchin looking forward to life in retirement

Cotchin called time on his 306-game AFL career at the end of the 2023 season. He said on Wednesday he's looking forward to becoming a spectator and watching a new era at the Tigers.

“Just on the back of what was an amazing period for our footy club over those four years,” he said. “Then the hub year and everything, I think we just literally got a little bit tired and things became a little bit more challenging which obviously breaks down some of the stuff that you’ve been so strong in.

“That’s probably what I’m excited about now having stepped away from the footy club is seeing other guys stepping up to the plate and putting their spin on things and reconnecting the footy club in the powerful way that we had it going through those dominant years. As a supporter now I get to sit back and watch it unfold from afar.”

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