DAMIEN HARDWICK is the current Senior Coach at the Richmond Tigers, and there were a number of afl trading cards issued during Hardwick’s Playing Career, which are available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
He was recruited from Upwey-Tecoma (VIC), and played 153 Games and kicked 13 Goals at the Essendon Bombers from 1994-2001, prior to extending his career with 54 Games and kicking 1 Goal with Port Power from 2002-2004. Hardwick was not totally committed to an AFL career at first , and when he won the Reserve Grade Best and Fairest Award at Essendon in 1993, he realised that if he had worked harder during the Season , he could have been part of the Essendon Bombers Premiership Team of the same year.
Damien Hardwick won a reputation as a tough, rugged, aggressive, totally fearless defender and was a vital cog in the Bombers defence throughout his career. His importance was amplified when he won the Essendon Club Best and Fairest Award in 1998 amongst a star-studded Bombers playing group. Hardwick was again dominant in Essendons outstanding 2000 Premiership Year and earned All Australian honours.
At the completion of the 2001 season, Coach Kevin Sheedy advised Hardwick that Salary Cap restrictions could impact on the players immediate future at the Club, so he was traded to Port Power. The immediate impact of Hardwick’s mental and physical toughness saw the Port Power defence become a powerful force in the AFL. His approach of taking it up to the opposition, certainly paid dividends for the Power in the 2004 Finals Series, and particularly in the Grand Final, when Hardwick’s physical attack on the ball and opposition players in the vicinity, paved the way for Port Power’s maiden AFL Premiership victory.
Damien Hardwick started in Coaching Ranks with the role as an Assistant Coach at Hawthorn in 2005, under Coach Alastair Clarkson. This liaison proved fruitful with the Hawthorn Club pulling off a stunning Premiership Victory over the seemingly invincible Geelong Cats to win the 2008 Flag. Despite Hardwick’s growing reputation as a future Senior Coach , he was unsuccessful, although being short-listed for the Melbourne, Essendon and North Melbourne Senior Roles, until his appointment as Senior Coach of the Richmond Tigers for the 2010 Season.
The Tigers faithful have been crying out for success, particularly post Terry Wallace, and while the Club has an Army of very talented youngsters at their disposal, it appears the re-building phase will continue for some years. With steely resolve, grit and determination should there be an opportunity to fast-track success, the Tigers have the right man in Damien Hardwick.
( Image courtesy of life.com ).