Longmire's classy nod to triumphant Hardwick

Swans coach John Longmire has paid a wonderful tribute to Damien Hardwick at Sydney's end of season awards night.

Longmire could have started his speech at the Bob Skilton Medal night any way he wanted, but he chose to begin with a classy nod to his rival.

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"I just wanted to start off by congratulating the Tigers and particularly Damien Hardwick," Longmire said on Friday night.

"You really can't help but admire the way that club has gone about their business over the last 12 months.

Hardwick celebrates with skipper Trent Cotchin. Image: Getty

"They stood firm despite some huge pressure this time last year."

Longmire was referring to the club's decision to stick by Hardwick despite a disappointing 13th-place finish in 2016.

In leading the Tigers to their first premiership since 1980, Hardwick achieved the biggest year-on-year turnaround in VFL/AFL history, leaving Longmire in adoration.

Hardwick is clearly a much-loved and well-respected member of the coaching fraternity.

He shared a beautiful moment with Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson in the depths of the MCG after Richmond thrashed Adelaide by 48 points on Saturday.

Clarko crashed Hardwick's post-game press conference to let him know he had a beer waiting for him when he was finished with his media commitments.

Hardwick, Clarkson and their wives had dinner on Friday night and the Hawks' coach was welcomed into the Richmond change rooms for a beer post-match.

Hardwick was an assistant at Hawthorn when Clarkson coached the first of his four premierships, in 2008.

This is the second-successive season a Clarkson alumni has coached a team to a premiership after Luke Beveridge, another former Hawthorn assistant coach, tasted glory last year with the Western Bulldogs.

"He's been a great friend of mine, a great mentor and I owe a lot of what I am today to him taking me under his wing," Hardwick said.

"He's a fantastic man and to have him there at the end for the celebrations was testament to him.

"He's walked into an opposition club rooms, he's got his arms around the players and me, I just love him."

with AAP