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Hardwick to quit Richmond in bombshell coaching call


Triple premiership Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has decided to quit the club.

With 36 games remaining on his contract, it’s understood Hardwick will speak publicly as early as Tuesday to confirm his decision.

It’s unclear precisely why Hardwick has reached this conclusion or whether he will coach one more game or not.

Sources with knowledge of the situation believe general burnout is a factor.

Monday was a scheduled players’ day off at Punt Road and Hardwick was expected to inform the playing group on Tuesday morning.

The Tigers have won three of a possible 10 matches this season and look likely to miss finals.

Hardwick will be remembered as an icon of Richmond. After a mixed start and three consecutive elimination finals defeats, he was the key subject in a wide-ranging review at the end of 2016.

The Tigers decided to stick with him and it paid dividends with three premierships in four years and the creation of a yellow and black dynasty.

Though his win-loss ratio of 56 percent appears modest, it does not tell the full story. Hardwick’s chaotic game style defined an era and allowed Dustin Martin to evolve from a star into an all-time great.

Hardwick’s resignation could set off a chain of events around the country, with Stuart Dew’s position at Gold Coast not secure despite holding a contract for 2024.

Hardwick is a premiership player at Essendon (2000) and Port Adelaide (2004) and it’s the latter club which would surely entertain bringing him in.

Whether it accelerates Port’s August timeline to discuss Ken Hinkley’s future remains to be seen.

The Power are 8-2 but its president David Koch has consistently maintained there will be no decision on the out of contract Hinkley until the back end of the season.

The 50-year-old Hardwick is Richmond's longest serving coach, having overseen 291 games in a stint lasting 13-and-a-half years.

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